Japanese Court Dismisses AUM Cult Founder’s Plea for Retrial
Tokyo, March 18 Kyodo – The Tokyo District Court has rejected a plea for a retrial lodged by a family member of AUM Shinrikyo founder Shoko Asahara, who is on death row, reaching the decision in four months, sources familiar with the case said Wednesday.
The 54-year-old Asahara, whose real name is Chizuo Matsumoto, was convicted on murder and five other charges connected to 13 crimes attributed to the group, including fatal sarin attacks in Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture, in 1994 and on the Tokyo subway system in 1995.
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Asahara’s second daughter filed the plea last November and the court handed down its decision dated Tuesday, according to the sources.
Court dismisses retrial request for AUM founder Asahara
Lawyers for Asahara, 54, whose real name is Chizuo Matsumoto, had provided testimony by former AUM executive Seiichi Endo, 48, who denied that Asahara was involved in the subway gassing. However, the court dismissed the credibility of the testimony.
In an appeal against his own sentencing in March 2006, Endo testified that senior AUM member Hideo Murai, now deceased, had masterminded the attack.
Asahara was tried for murder over a series of crimes involving AUM, which has changed its name to Aleph, and was sentenced to death in a ruling in the Tokyo District Court in February 2004.
His lawyers failed to submit appeal documents within the specified time frame, saying they were unable to communicate with Asahara, and the Tokyo High Court dismissed an appeal against the death sentence in March 2006.