Court Calls for Punishment for Lawyers of Cult Founder Asahara

TOKYO, Sept. 25–(Kyodo) _ The Tokyo High Court on Monday urged the Japan Federation of Bar Associations to penalize two lawyers for AUM Shinrikyo cult founder Shoko Asahara for delaying court procedures by missing the deadline for submitting an appeal document, court officials said.

According to regulations on criminal trials, the federation has to decide how to treat lawyers Takeshi Matsui and Akio Matsushita in three months.

The two and others were appointed as defense lawyers of Asahara, 51, whose real name is Chizuo Matsumoto, for the trial at the Tokyo High Court, after he was sentenced to death by the Tokyo District Court in February 2004.

The lawyers demanded trials be suspended and did not submit a statement of reasons for an appeal by the August 2005 deadline, arguing that Asahara lacked the ability to undergo a trial as he could not communicate with them.

The Tokyo High Court and the Supreme Court rejected Asahara’s appeals in March and September this year respectively, finalizing his death sentence.

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Religion News Blog posted this on Monday September 25, 2006.
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