Skip to main content.
A non-profit service providing academics, religion professionals and other researchers with religion & cult news
ReligionNewsBlog

Religion news articles about religious cults, sects, world religions, and related issues

Home | About RNB Related: Cult FAQ | Cult Experts | Apologetics Index | Cult Information Search Engine
More articles about: Aum Shinrikyo:

Defense lawyers to question Aum founder Asahara


ReligionNewsBlog.com • Sunday December 22, 2002

Kyodo (Japan), Dec. 20, 2002
http://www.japantoday.com/

TOKYO Defense lawyers for Aum Shinrikyo founder Shoko Asahara said Thursday that they intend to question him in court next year.

The lawyers had earlier said they were not sure if they could question Asahara, who is accused of masterminding the 1995 Tokyo subway sarin gas attack that killed 12 people and made more than 5,000 others ill, as he previously appeared oblivious in court and was not responding to the lawyers.

Osamu Watanabe, chief of the defense council, said at a news conference, “We are still not sure how he will respond but we will make our utmost efforts in questioning him in court.”

The lawyers for Asahara, 47, whose real name is Chizuo Matsumoto, insisted on his innocence as they began presenting their arguments in May in the trial of the cult leader.

The defense team denied that Asahara conspired with his disciples in the sarin attack, and said he was a sincere leader who tried to spread religious convictions.

The defense team members said they believe they have been successful in demonstrating the innocence of Asahara in court since May, but they will need another six months or so for preparation for the planned final arguments after the prosecutors make their closing arguments as early as next summer.

The trial of Asahara began at the Tokyo District Court in April 1996, and in January prosecutors finished presenting the main points in their case. Asahara has been indicted in 13 criminal cases, including seven murder cases.

He was originally indicted in 17 cases, but prosecutors withdrew in October 2000 four cases involving the illegal manufacture of thiopental, a barbiturate administered intravenously.

The defense team attributed the series of crimes committed by cult members to some former top Aum officials who they said misunderstood Aum teachings and were not under Asahara’s control. The team said it is poised to present evidence about followers’ mental states and their behavior as a group.

Although Asahara may have moral responsibility as the group’s leader, it does not follow that he is also legally liable, the team said earlier.

The cult now calls itself Aleph.

info Original content is © Copyright Religion News Blog. All rights reserved.
    Do not republish or repost. Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape

share this article Share this article

tag Related Articles

arrow
arrow Topic(s): Aum Shinrikyo

Comment Comment

Join Religion News Blog at Google+ to comment, share, and follow.

RSS Feed Follow Us


 Follow

Religion News You May Like This As Well

Why are you not using Nozbe?

Don't you need to get things done?

Religion News Search Search Religion News Blog