Published: Sun, July 08, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Japan doomsday cult leader executed for sarin gas attack

Japan doomsday cult leader executed for sarin gas attack

The founder of the Japanese doomsday cult Aum Shinrikyo, responsible for the deadly 1995 sarin gas attack in Tokyo, was executed by hanging together with some of his followers on Friday, the NHK TV channel reported.

Their other crimes include the 1989 murders of an anti-Aum lawyer and his wife and 1-year-old baby and a 1994 sarin attack in the city of Matsumoto in central Japan, which killed seven people and injured more than 140.

Asahara was 63. It wasn't immediately clear how many others were hanged Friday.

"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.

This February 1995, photo shows facilities of Aum Shinrikyo doomsday cult led by its guru Shoko Asahara in Kamikuishiki at the foot of Mount Fuji, background, Japan. That happened in January.

What was the Tokyo attack? The toxin struck victims down in a matter of seconds, leaving them choking and vomitting, BBC News reports.

In the following months, members of the cult carried out several failed attempts at releasing hydrogen cyanide in various stations. Another six members, also linked to the country's worst terror incident, are still awaiting execution. Japanese media reports say on Friday, July 6, 2018, Asahara, who has been on death row for masterminding the 1995 deadly Tokyo subway gassing and other crimes, has been executed.

He mixed Buddhist and Hindu beliefs with apocalyptic Christian prophecies, declaring himself both to be Christ and the first enlightened being since Buddha.

US Army quietly discharging immigrant recruits - Newswatch
He says that, as part of his citizenship application, the military has already verified that he has been serving honorably. To be eligible for military service, immigrants need some sort of legal status, like a student visa.

After all, the upper echelons of Aum Shinrikyo being held on death row had denied being directly involved in the terrorist attack.

It is extremely complex to label the religious fundamentals of Aum Shinrikyo. At its peak, Aum had tens of thousands of followers, mostly in Japan and Russian Federation.

Asahara, who founded Aum in 1987, said that the United States would attack Japan and turn it into a nuclear wasteland. It renamed itself Aleph in 2000 and two splinter groups have been formed, including one established by high-profile former member Fumihiro Joyu. While Japan has not designated the offshoots as terror organizations, they do consider them to be risky religions in need of surveillance.

It still has followers both in Japan and also worldwide, in particular in some countries of the former Soviet Union.

The cult claimed 10,000 members in Japan and 30,000 in Russian Federation.

Why has the execution been so delayed? The sentence was upheld by the Supreme Court in 2006.

There has been strong public support for the Aum convicts to be put to death.

Fortunately, mistakes made in developing the sarin and its delivery method meant the attack was far less effective than intended, and the group only succeeded in killing 12 and injuring 5,500 people.

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