Japan’s top court on Monday rejected the final appeal against a death sentence meted out for the deadly 1995 nerve gas attack on the Tokyo subway, leaving 13 members of the Aum Supreme Truth doomsday cult facing the gallows.
The supreme court threw out requests to spare the life of Seiichi Endo, the last of the cultists indicted over a series of attacks, including that on commuters which left 13 people dead — one of the nation’s worst mass-murders.
“We heard no words of remorse, no words of apology. This shows what Aum really is,” said Shizue Takahashi, whose subway worker husband died when Nazi-developed sarin was released onto several packed rush-hour trains. […]
Presiding judge Seiji Kanetsuki said Endo “played a leading role in producing sarin gas, knowing what it would be used for,” according to state broadcaster NHK.
Monday’s ruling was the final court procedure against the 189 Aum cultists indicted over the crimes. Three sect members remain on the run.
The defense for Endo can file for a correction of the ruling, a procedure that can be undertaken within a 10-day window beginning from the day after the ruling. If the filing is dismissed, Endo’s death sentence will officially be finalized. No rulings have been overturned through such a procedure.
“Every one of his criminal acts was meant to protect the cult, and its cruel and inhuman acts were unparalleled,” Presiding Justice Seishi Kanetsuki of the Supreme Court’s No. 1 Petty Bench said in the ruling.
“The defendant’s responsibility for being involved in the killings of a total of 19 people by misusing his scientific knowledge was very heavy, and the death sentence therefore cannot be avoided.”
Last year Japan’s National Police Agency said it has confirmed that a total of 6,583 people fell victim to the 1995 sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway system and seven other crimes committed by the Aum Shinrikyo cult.
Aum Shinrikyo began as a spiritual group mixing Hindu and Buddhist beliefs, but developed into a paranoid doomsday cult obsessed with Armageddon. […]
Former yoga teacher Shoko Asahara started the group in the mid-1980s, and later claimed to have reached enlightenment after a trip to India.
By the time of the Tokyo attack, the group was reputed to have thousands of members, including rich and powerful members of Japanese society.
But Asahara became obsessed with the idea that World War III was about to break out, and began ordering attacks on people he regarded as enemies.
Research resources on AUM shinrikyo
Final police tally confirms 6,583 fell victim to 8 Aum-related crimes
How AUM Shinrikyo justified violence
Life inside AUM Shinrikyo
How cult apologists, including J. Gordon Melton and James R. Lewis, defended Aum Shrinrikyo