Death sentence fixed for AUM Shinrikyo bigwig Hayashi

The death sentence handed down on former AUM Shinrikyo cult senior member Yasuo Hayashi for his role in two deadly nerve gas attacks has been fixed after the Supreme Court dismissed his appeal on Friday.

“The incidents are terrorist attacks that indiscriminately murdered a large number of people. They were anti-social and extremely vicious,” Presiding Judge Yuki Furuta said as he handed down the ruling.

The top court rejected his defense counsel’s request for leniency. “The defendant’s responsibility is grave and there is no choice but to punish him with death, even considering that he sprayed the sarin on the orders of a top member of the cult.”

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Hayashi, 50, is the fifth person whose death sentence has been fixed over a series of crimes organized by AUM.

Hayashi sprayed sarin on a Tokyo subway train in March 1995, killing eight people, according to lower court rulings. He has been convicted of being involved in equipping a car with a device to spray sarin, which was used in an attack in the Nagano Prefecture city of Matsumoto in June 1994. He has also been found guilty to planting a device to release deadly cyanide gas in Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, in May 1995 in a failed mass murder attempt.

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