The Tokyo District Court on Friday ordered commentator Atsuyuki Sassa and Bungei Shunju, a major publishing house, to pay 350,000 yen in damages to Hiroshi Sakaguchi, a former Japanese Red Army activist now on death row, for defamation.

In the libel suit filed by the death-row convict, presiding Judge Tomonori Sagara decided that a series of Bungei Shunju magazine articles about the 1972 Asama Villa case involving Japanese Red Army members contained expressions indicating that a bombing incident in 1971 was perpetrated by Sakaguchi and some of his colleagues, and that it lowered his social reputation.

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