Japan sarin attack cult leader executed

19 1995 Shoko Asahara, head of the doomsday cult Aum Shinrikyo is transferred from Tokyo police headquarters to Tokyo District Court for questioning

19 1995 Shoko Asahara, head of the doomsday cult Aum Shinrikyo is transferred from Tokyo police headquarters to Tokyo District Court for questioning

Asahara was sentenced to hang in 2004 on 13 charges, including the subway gas attacks and a series of other crimes that killed more than a dozen more people.

Minoru Kariya, whose father was tortured to death by cult members in 1995 as he tried to get his brother to leave the cult, didn't see the point of keeping Asahara alive and wondering when his execution might be.

It's believed that the cult had tens of thousands of followers at its peak, and now sits at around the 1500 mark across Japan and Russian Federation, where original members appeared under the name 'Aleph' in the mid-1990s.

The death penalty is only used for serious cases of murder and is carried out by hanging.

"As I also bear a heavy responsibility, I would like to apologize to the victims", he said, although adding, "I have left Aleph more than 10 years ago, and I don't have any special feelings (for Asahara)". His first trial was held in April 1996 at the Tokyo District Court, but the enormous volume of evidence and the number of witnesses prolonged the trial. A further six cult members remain on death row. Most of its followers are in Japan or Russian Federation.

In addition to the sarin gas bombing, Asahara was convicted for the 1989 murder of the Sakamoto family.

Some family members of the cult's victims are more interested in those answers than they are in retribution.

Japan has executed seven members of the Aum Shinrikyo doomsday cult over the deadly Sarin chemical attack on the Tokyo underground in 1995.

More news: Sebastian Vettel hits out at Formula One penalty system
More news: Chris Brown Arrested for Outstanding Warrant in Florida
More news: Sweden are easy to analyse, hard to beat, says coach Andersson

Virtually every aspect of Aum Shinrikyo's crimes and the prosecution has been the subject of deep controversy in Japan over the years. They included three scientists who led the production of the sarin gas and a man who drove a getaway vehicle.

Tomomasa Nakagawa, a doctor also executed Friday, and several other cultists broke into the Sakamotos' apartment late at night, strangled them to death and buried them in the mountains. They were hanged in four prisons in Tokyo and three other places, spread out so the executions could be done at once. The Japanese government has been accused of seeking to kill off the Aum prisoners to tidy up before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Amnesty International said today that executions "do not deliver justice."

More than 1,600 members of cult splinter groups still practice Asahara's teachings across the country, Japanese public security officials say.

Police leave an Aum Shinrikyo compound in the small village of Kamikuishiki at the foot of Mount Fuji on March 28, 1995.

They thought that non-members were condemned to eternal hell, but could be saved if they were killed by members of the group. Together the groups control millions of dollars in assets.

Despite the horror that persists over the Aum's subway attack and other crimes, some experts had warned against the execution of Asahara and his acolytes.

The group believed that Armageddon is inevitable in the form of global war between the United States and Japan.

Recommended News

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.