The state-appointed lawyers for Shoko Asahara, the convicted founder of the AUM Shinrikyo cult, received 452 million yen [$4 million – rnb) in total as a state payment for their services, it has been learned.
The payment is thought to be the highest ever handed to state-appointed lawyers who have represented one accused person.
Asahara, whose real name is Chizuo Matsumoto, received 12 state-appointed lawyers, and 11 later represented him as he faced charges including masterminding the gassing of Tokyo’s subway systems in 1995.
After the formation of the unusually large group of lawyers, Asahara’s trial began, and a total of 257 hearings were held, taking 7 years and 10 months. The length of the trial resulted in the large payments to lawyers.
Asahara was sentenced to death on Feb. 27 after being convicted on 13 charges that claimed the lives of 27 victims. The AUM cult now calls itself Aleph.