TOKYO, March 30 –(Kyodo)– The defense team for AUM Shinrikyo founder Shoko Asahara filed an objection Thursday against the Tokyo High Court’s decision to dismiss their appeal against his death sentence two years ago.
The objection came after the high court turned down the appeal Monday, saying Asahara, 51, can stand trial and that the defense team failed to present his case for appeal before its deadline.
The defense team said in the objection that it finds the ruling problematic.
Closed hearings will be held by a panel led by Presiding Judge Yu Shiraki, but legal experts say chances are slim that the new panel will overturn Monday’s decision.
If the court rejects the objection, the defense team can file a special appeal with the Supreme Court within five days. But it is likely that the decision will be maintained and his death sentence will stand without an appeal court hearing, the experts say.
Asahara, whose real name is Chizuo Matsumoto, was given the death sentence at the Tokyo District Court in February 2004 for his role in 13 criminals cases including 1995 sarin gas attacks on the Tokyo subway system that killed 12 people and injured more than 5,500 others. The defense team appealed the decision to the high court.
AUM Shinrikyo has renamed itself Aleph.
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