The Tokyo District Court gave a 53-year-old man a suspended seven-month prison term Thursday for obstructing police in Tokyo in February 2004.

Akira Watanabe, who insisted throughout the trial he was a victim of police brutality, was found guilty of shoving an officer and grabbing him by the collar at a “koban” police post near JR Kameido Station in Tokyo’s Koto Ward.

Watanabe was on his way home from a nearby “izakaya” pub when he stopped at the police box and asked the officers what they thought of the revelations a few days earlier that Hokkaido Prefectural Police had slush funds. He then assaulted them, the court said.

He claimed that instead of answering, one officer forced him out of the booth and threw him onto the sidewalk. Watanabe said he cut his knees and the backs of his hands, and his arm was extremely painful from having been twisted.

The court ruled, however, that the injuries were the result of the officers trying to restrain him after he attacked.

Watanabe said he had tried to file a complaint against the police officer but was arrested instead for obstruction.

The court suspended his sentence for three years. Watanabe immediately filed an appeal with the Tokyo High Court.

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