Doomsday cult doctor to hang
Oct. 29, 2003
ReligionNewsBlog.com • Wednesday October 29, 2003
TOKYO, Japan (AP) — A medical doctor who acted as a senior leader in the doomsday cult that carried out the deadly 1995 nerve gas attack on Tokyo’s subway will be hanged for his role in that crime and several other murders.
Tomomasa Nakagawa, 41, was sentenced to die Wednesday by the Tokyo District Court for helping to make the sarin nerve gas used in the subway attack, which killed 12 people, and another earlier attack that killed seven people.
He was also found guilty of taking part in earlier cult murders.
Nakagawa is the 10th member of the Aum Shinri Kyo cult to be given the death sentence.
Closing arguments were to be made Thursday in the trial of the cult’s guru Shoko Asahara, who is also facing a possible death sentence for allegedly masterminding the subway gassing.
Asahara has claimed he is innocent, and his lawyers have argued that Aum disciples acted on their own.
The subway gassing was the worst case of urban terrorism in Japan’s history, and deeply shocked the nation.
Raids of cult headquarters and confessions of leading members later revealed the cult had numerous plots to overthrow the government and operated labs to develop chemical and biological weapons.
At its height, the cult claimed 30,000 members, about a third of them in Russia. It still exists under the name Aleph, but its membership has dwindled to about 1,000 or so.
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