Top Court Nixes Appeal By Former Key AUM Cult Member Nakamura

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TOKYO, Sept. 5–(Kyodo)– The Supreme Court has dismissed an appeal filed by senior AUM Shinrikyo cult member Noboru Nakamura against his life imprisonment sentence for his involvement in four cases including the 1994 sarin gas attack in Nagano Prefecture that killed seven people and injured many others.

The decision by the court’s second petty bench, dated Monday, let stand the Tokyo High Court ruling of Sept. 25, 2003. Of the 189 people indicted in AUM-related incidents, Nakamura, 39, is the fourth person whose life imprisonment sentence has been confirmed.

Trials are still in process for 13 people including AUM founder and leader Shoko Asahara, 51. He was given the death sentence at a district court, and the outcome of his appeal is still being awaited.

The high court ruled in September 2003 that Nakamura had conspired with Asahara and others to release sarin gas in Matsumoto, Nagano, in June 1994.

Nakamura was also found guilty by the court of killing 27-year-old AUM follower Toshio Tomita in July 1994 and of involvement in the confinement resulting in death of Kiyoshi Kariya, 68, chief clerk at the Meguro Public Notary Office, in 1995, and the construction of a sarin plant in the cult’s facilities between 1993 and 1994.

In May 2001, the Tokyo District Court sentenced Nakamura to life imprisonment, and prosecutors who had demanded the death sentence and the defendant both appealed.

The high court dismissed both claims by the defendant and the prosecutors, and only the defendant appealed the high court ruling.

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Kyodo News Service, Japan
Sep. 5, 2006

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This post was last updated: Nov. 17, 2014