China sentences former Japanese politician to life

BEIJING (AP) — A court in southern China has sentenced an elderly former Japanese politician to life in prison in a five-year-old drug trafficking case.

Another man from the African country of Mali was sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve and a man from the African nation of Guinea was also give a life sentence.

Takuma Sakuragi, 76, is a former city assemblyman from central Japan's Aichi. He was detained in 2013 when found carrying about 3.3 kilograms of illegal stimulants in his luggage, according to Japanese news reports.

Sakuragi pled not guilty. He said a Nigerian acquaintance had asked him to carry the suitcase.

Chinese law exempts people over the age of 75 from the death penalty, which is often imposed for drug-related offenses.