Wednesday, 18 July, 2018

Japan cult leader behind gas attack, followers are…

Japan executes ex-leader of cult behind subway sarin attack that killed 13 – report Doomsday cult leader, followers executed for 1995 sarin attack in Tokyo subway
Ray Hunter | 09 July, 2018, 06:15

In June 1994, the cult spread sarin gas in Matsumoto in central Japan, killing eight people and injuring more than 140 others, in an attack targeting residents who were protesting the cult's presence in their neighborhood and court officials handling their legal disputes.

Other members who were involved in deadly AUM-related attacks, were also executed Friday, the sources said. Scores of Aum Shinrikyo members have faced trial over the attack - 13 were sentenced to death, including Asahara, according to BBC News. A further six cult members remain on death row.

Under instructions from Asahara, six Aum members strangled 33-year-old lawyer Tsutsumi Sakamoto - who had been helping parents seeking to free their children from the cult's control - as well as his 29-year-old wife, Satoko, and their 1-year-old son, Tatsuhiko, after breaking into the family's home in Yokohama in the early hours of November 4, 1989.

"When I think of those who died because of them, it was a pity (my husband's) parents and my parents could not hear the news of this execution", she said.

"I've been in pain for years".

The cult went underground after the 1995 attack, but did not disappear, eventually renaming itself Aleph or Hikari no Wa. Seven of the top cult leaders, including Shoko Asahara, were hanged; another six await execution.The Asahi ShimbunHAZ-MATThe attack was one of the most shocking in modern Japanese history.

Amnesty International lamented the executions, saying that these failed to deliver justice and is "the ultimate denial of human rights".

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In March, seven of the 13 AUM death row inmates were transferred from the Tokyo detention center to other facilities across the country, fanning speculation they could be executed anytime. Five were executed for their role in Tokyo subway attack, while another was executed for his role in the group's other crimes. They included three scientists who led the production of the sarin gas and a man who drove a getaway vehicle.

The cult's most notorious crime was the release of sarin gas on Tokyo subways in 1995.

He was also convicted of the murders of lawyer Tsutsumi Sakamoto, who had been helping parents seeking to free their children of the cult's control, and his wife and their 1-year-old son in November 1989.

Here we look back at images of the attack and the events that followed.

During his eight-year trial, Asahara talked incoherently, occasionally babbling in broken English, and never acknowledged his responsibility or offered meaningful explanations. But it gradually became a paranoid doomsday cult, convinced the world was about to end in a global war and that only they would survive, according to BBC News.

The cult was preparing for the apocalypse, and had more than 10,000 members in Japan alone.

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