Tokyo, Aug. 24 Kyodo — The Supreme Court has finalized the death sentence for former AUM Shinrikyo member Masato Yokoyama for his involvement in the 1995 Tokyo subway sarin gas attack, rejecting an objection raised by his defence about the court’s earlier ruling, judicial sources said Friday.
Among the five AUM members indicted for perpetrating the deadly gas attack on the Tokyo subway system, Yokoyama, 43, was the first given a death sentence which has been confirmed. Twelve people were killed and more than 5,000 were injured in the attack.
Two other members of AUM blamed for a spate of murders and other serious crimes are also on death row. They are AUM founder Shoko Asahara, 52, whose real name is Chizuo Matsumoto, and Kazuaki Okazaki, 52, a former senior member of the group who perpetrated the murder of the family of lawyer Tsutsumi Sakamoto in 1989.
According to lower court rulings, Yokoyama conspired with Asahara and other AUM members and released sarin gas in Tokyo subway trains on March 20, 1995. Yokoyama also led AUM’s arms-producing team and was involved in illicitly producing an automatic gun. His lawyers attempted to avoid death for Yokoyama on the grounds that no one died in the train car in which he had the poisonous gas sprayed.
The Supreme Court on July 20 upheld the death sentence for Yokoyama, to which his defence team filed an objection.