Kin of Cult Founder Sue State Over High Court’s Rejection of Appeal

TOKYO, April 29–(Kyodo)– Daughters of AUM Shinrikyo founder Shoko Asahara are suing the state and a psychiatrist for damages in a move to oppose the Tokyo High Court’s decision that found him mentally fit to stand trial and dismissed an appeal against his death sentence, his lawyers said Saturday.

Two of his daughters filed the suit with the Tokyo District Court along with the two lawyers on Tuesday, seeking 50 million yen in damages.

The high court turned down the appeal last month, saying Asahara, 51, can stand trial and that the defense team failed to present his case for appeal.

The court made the decision based on the assessment by psychiatrist Akira Nishiyama that Asahara is mentally eligible for trial.

The daughters and lawyers claim the high court “suddenly” rejected the appeal — a day before the lawyers were planning to present Asahara’s case for appeal — in order to block their submission of necessary documents.

Noting Nishiyama interviewed Asahara “only three times,” the plaintiffs claimed that the doctor met Asahara having already decided he is mentally competent.

Nishiyama declined to comment on the latest move, saying he has yet to read the suit.

Asahara, whose real name is Chizuo Matsumoto, was sentenced to death at the district court in 2004 for his role in 13 criminal cases including the 1995 sarin gas attacks on the Tokyo subway system that killed 12 people and injured more than 5,500 others.

AUM Shinrikyo has renamed itself Aleph.

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Kyodo News Service, Japan
Apr. 29, 2006

Religion News Blog posted this on Saturday April 29, 2006.
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