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rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Sat Oct 27 19:25:02 CDT 2007
Cult member gets death penalty
Japan's top court upheld a death sentence on Friday handed to a member of
a doomsday cult for killing 7 people in 1994 by releasing Nazi-invented
nerve gas, officials said.
The Supreme Court turned down an appeal by Satoru Hashimoto, 40, a senior
member of the Aum Supreme Truth cult, which is best known for its deadly
nerve gas attack on the Tokyo subway in 1995.
The court ruled that Hashimoto and other members of the cult sprayed sarin
gas in the central Japanese city of Matsumoto in June 1994, killing 7
residents under the instruction of Aum guru Shoko Asahara.
Asahara, a charismatic former acupuncturist who preached of a coming
apocalypse, is himself on death row.
"It was an organised, cruel crime," presiding judge Osamu Tsuno said as he
confirmed Hashimoto's sentence.
"He bears grave criminal responsibility," he said, as quoted by Jiji
The court also ruled that Hashimoto killed an anti-sect lawyer and his
wife and their baby in 1989.
Hashimoto will now be transferred to death row to await hanging, except in
the unlikely event that the Supreme Court accepts a special appeal arguing
that his sentence is unconstitutional.
The 1994 incident was largely seen as a rehearsal for the attack a year
later on Tokyo subway trains that left another 12 people dead and
(source: News 24. com)
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