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Japan releases anti-imperialistic leader after serving 20 years in jail

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Fusako Shigenobu (C) shakes hands with a supporter after she walked out of prison in Akishima, suburb of Tokyo, May 28, 2022 (Photo by AP)

The founder of a Japanese-based anti-imperialistic group has been released after serving a 20-year prison sentence in the country over alleged embassy siege charges.

Fusako Shigenobu, who was detained in 2000 under charges related to a 1974 siege of the French embassy in the Netherlands, walked free from prison in the Japanese capital of Tokyo on Saturday after pleading not guilty to the accusations.

Shigenobu maintained her innocence over the siege, in which three Japanese Red Army militants stormed into the French embassy, taking the ambassador and 10 other staff hostage for 100 hours.

Two police officers were shot and seriously wounded. France ended the standoff by freeing a jailed Red Army guerrilla.

Shigenobu did not take part in the attack personally but the court accused her of coordinating the operation.

The 76-year-old was the leader of the now-disbanded Red Army in Japan, which was active in the 1970s and 1980s, and an outspoken supporter of the Palestinian cause.

Upon her release, Shigenobu and her daughter appeared in front of the cameras while wearing a scarf that symbolizes Palestinian nationality, with several supporters holding a banner that read, "We love Fusako."

Shigenobu previously said that she considers herself a political prisoner who has vigorously fought to improve the international society and help the Palestinian people.

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