Death sentence for senior member of Aum Shinrikyo cult finalized

The death sentence for Masami Tsuchiya, a former senior member of the Aum Shinrikyo cult who was convicted over a series of crimes committed by group members, has become final, judicial sources said Tuesday.

Kyodo News says:

Tsuchiya, 46, is the 11th Aum member to be sentenced to death. He was convicted of involvement in six Aum-related criminal cases, including deadly sarin gas attacks in the mid-1990s.

Last month Japan’s Supreme Court turned down an appeal from Tsuchiya against the sentence. Last Monday it rejected an appeal against that decision.

Tsuchiya received the death sentence in January 2004 for playing a key role in the murder of 13 people in crimes committed by the sect, including two separate deadly sarin gas attacks, as well as the murder of a young man.

At the time Kyodo said the court concluded that Tsuchiya had developed all chemical weapons used in the crimes he was charged with under the instruction of the cult’s leader, Shoko Asahara.

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