Death demanded for Aum ‘doctor’

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Daily Yomiuri (Japan), Jan. 30, 2003
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/

Prosecutors on Wednesday demanded the death penalty for a former senior member of the Aum Supreme Truth cult for his alleged involvement in a series of murders committed by the doomsday cult, including the 1995 sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway system.

Tomomasa Nakagawa, 40, the “doctor” of Aum founder Chizuo Matsumoto, 47, also known as Shoko Asahara, is being tried at the Tokyo District Court on 11 charges, including murder and attempted murder.

Nakagawa has pleaded not guilty, saying he did not know what purpose the sarin nerve gas would be used for in the subway attack.

Prosecutors said Nakagawa played a central role in the attack as a close aide to Matsumoto and was involved in most of the criminal acts committed by the cult.

Prosecutors detailed how Nakagawa allegedly developed the deadly gas with another former senior Aum member, Seiichi Endo, 42, who has appealed his conviction on charges of murder and attempted murder in five cases to a higher court after being sentenced to death in October.

Regarding the June 1994 sarin gas attack in Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture, prosecutors said it was clear that Nakagawa was well aware of how lethal the gas was, although he claimed sarin was not necessarily fatal.

Prosecutors said Nakagawa was trying to mislead the court by skillfully repeating lies.

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Cultists compensated

Meanwhile, the Mito District Court On Wednesday ordered the Mito city government to pay a total of 600,000 yen to two members of the Aum Supreme Truth cult for rejecting their applications to register as residents in December 2001.

The 36-year-old and 54-year-old male cultists had filed a lawsuit demanding 2 million yen in compensation.

Handing down the ruling, presiding Judge Hidemi Senba said the two were emotionally distressed because their application to register as residents was illegally rejected despite their living in the city.

According to the ruling, the two had difficulty leading their lives as they were not able to register their personal seals or renew their driver’s licenses because of the rejection by the city government.

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Surveillance of Aum to continue

The Public Security Examination Commission publicly announced in the official gazette Wednesday its decision to keep Aum under surveillance for three years beginning Feb. 1.

The measure came as the surveillance period was renewed the previous week under the Antisubversive Activities Law.

With the surveillance order in effect, the Public Security Investigation Agency and police are permitted to conduct searches of Aum-related facilities or engage in other monitoring operations.

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