Kyodo (Japan), Apr. 24, 2003
Source: Kyodo News Service
The following is a chronology of developments either involving or allegedly linked to AUM Shinrikyo cult founder Shoko Asahara.
– February 1984
Shoko Asahara forms AUM Shinsen no Kai, a predecessor to AUM Shinrikyo, to which it was renamed in July 1987.
– Nov. 4, 1989
Tsutsumi Sakamoto, a lawyer helping people with complaints against the group, is killed along with his wife and 1-year-old son.
– February 1990
Asahara and 24 other AUM members run in a lower house election, in which all of them lost.
– June 27, 1994
Fatal sarin nerve gas released in a residential district in Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture.
– March 20, 1995
Sarin gas released on Tokyo subway trains
– May 16, 1995
Asahara arrested in connection with the subway gassing.
– April 24, 1996
Asahara goes on trial, failing to enter plea.
– April 24, 1997
Asahara pleads not guilty, except for a VX nerve gas attack on a man.
– Dec. 2, 1997
Prosecutors reduce the number of injuries in the indictment on the subway attack to speed up court deliberations.
– Dec. 27, 1999
A law aimed at monitoring AUM goes into effect.
– Jan. 18, 2000
AUM admits Asahara’s involvement for the first time. The group renames itself Aleph.
– Oct. 4, 2000
Prosecutors drop four indictment cases out of 17.
– March 13, 2003
Asahara stays silent at his first questioning.
– March 27, 2003
Asahara keeps silent at second questioning.
– April 10, 2003
Asahara does not speak at third questioning. The examination of evidence wraps up.
– April 24, 2003
Prosecutors demand death sentence for Asahara.