The charges against the elderly man who was arrested for nailing a straw doll bearing the face of Russian President Vladimir Putin onto a sacred tree in Japan have been dropped.
Mitsunobu Hino, 72, was arrested last month on suspicion of property damage and trespassing in the area of Matsudo’s Mikazuki Shrine.
Hino was accused of hammering two holes measuring 1.6 inches deep into the sacred castanopsis tree by nailing the straw doll to it. The “wara ningyo” doll, which is used in Japan as a part of a supernatural ritual to wish death or harm to a person, also came with a note that read, “Vladimir Putin, born 7 October 1952. Pray for his extermination.”
Hino was released from police custody on June 27 after investigators said the shrine had withdrawn the charges for property damage.
“The victim has withdrawn the complaint,” a spokesperson for the Chiba Public Prosecutor’s Office’s Matsudo division said, according to SoraNews24.
The reason for the disposition has not been disclosed.
Other Putin straw dolls have been found at more than 10 shrines in Matsudo since May. The police believe the acts were all done by Hino due to the similarity in the dolls’ sizes and the handwriting on the dolls’ accompanying notes. If evidence against Hino surfaces, the other shrines may still file complaints against him.