Japan doomsday cult leader executed 23 years after Tokyo sarin attack

Japan executes ex-leader of cult behind subway sarin attack that killed 13 – report

The police dispatched personnel to the Justice Ministry, areas near the facilities of three groups founded by former members of the cult, as well as the Tokyo Detention House, where the 63-year-old cult leader, Shoko Asahara, was held before his execution. On March 20, 1995, members of the Aum Shinrikyo cult punctured bags of sarin gas on several lines of the Tokyo subway system during morning rush hour. He was among 13 people placed on death row in connection with the string of crimes perpetrated by the doomsday cult.

Hence, with the Heisei Era nearing its end, then the execution of the remaining death row members of Aum Shinrikyo seems set to follow the recent execution of seven members.

Japan's justice minister, who approved the hangings, said she doesn't take executions lightly but felt they were justified in this case because of the unprecedentedly seriousness of the crimes.

"I've been in pain for years", he told AFP.

The cult has since been renamed Aleph, with an estimated 2,000 members watched closely by authorities, according to the Associated Press. 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.

The move drew sharp criticism from some lawmakers as well as Amnesty International, which called capital punishment "the ultimate denial of human rights".

Asahara was born Chizuo Matsumoto in 1955 on the southwestern island of Kyushu and changed his name in the 1980s, when the Aum cult was being developed.

Even before the attack, in 1989, lawyer Tsutsumi Sakamoto, who opposed the cult, his wife and baby boy were murdered by cult members.

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She said Lopez Obrador was also weighing decriminalising drug consumption and launching a truth-and-reconciliation process. Mexico is now renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement - known as NAFTA - with the United States and Canada.

Asahara and five of the six followers had been implicated in the subway attack.

This photo from 1995 shows subway passengers affected by sarin nerve gas being carried into a hospital.

Dozens of Aum Shinrikyo members were arrested after months of raids by police on hundreds of locations across Japan.

He pleaded not guilty and never testified, but muttered and made incoherent remarks in court during the eight years of his trial.

The investigation into the attack uncovered more doomsday preparations, weapons arsenals and multiple killings by Aum.

Asahara told his followers he is the incarnation of Shiva, the Hindu god of destruction and regeneration, and urged them to entrust themselves and their assets to Shiva and himself for life, according to prosecutors who indicted him.

The subway attack was the most notorious of the cult's crimes, which was blamed for 27 deaths in all.

In 2016, police in Russian Federation conducted a number of raids on suspected cult members in Moscow and St Petersburg.

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