Life imprisonment for AUM member for sarin attack confirmed

TOKYO, Oct. 15 (Kyodo) — The Supreme Court has rejected an appeal by former AUM Shinrikyo cult member Koichi Kitamura, thereby confirming his sentence of life imprisonment for murder for his role as the driver of a getaway vehicle in the 1995 Tokyo subway sarin attack, informed sources said Wednesday.

The Supreme Court decision, dated Tuesday, upheld the rulings of the Tokyo District and High courts. The high court ruling said Kitamura, 35, played his role as driver coldly and faithfully in an atrocious and inhumane crime.

Fourteen AUM members, including cult founder Shoko Asahara, have been indicted on murder charges in the sarin gas attack that killed 12 people and injured thousands in March 1995.

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Kitamura is the second of them to receive a final sentence, following former AUM senior member Ikuo Hayashi, whose life imprisonment was confirmed at the Tokyo District Court. Kitamura is the first to have a life sentence confirmed by the Supreme Court.

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Kyodo News Service, Japan
Oct. 15, 2003
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