Friday, 16 November, 2018

Former leader of Japanese doomsday cult hanged over 1995 sarin gas attack

Former leader of Japanese doomsday cult hanged over 1995 sarin gas attack Former leader of Japanese doomsday cult hanged over 1995 sarin gas attack
Melinda Barton | 09 July, 2018, 06:12

Government spokesman Steffen Seibert told reporters in Berlin on Friday that Germany wants "the unconditional abolition of the death penalty and we convey this position toward friendly states as well".

Asahara was born Chizuo Matsumoto in 1955 on the southwestern island of Kyushu and changed his name in the 1980s, when the Aum cult was being developed. But during his 2004 sentencing the Tokyo District Court said he deserved ultimate condemnation as the mastermind.

He masterminded a horrific attack on the Tokyo subway in 1995, where his cultists released sarin gas inside a packed train.

Asahara was one of seven members of the cult hanged this week.

Japan's Justice Ministry announced the executions of Asahara, 63, and his followers.

The group amassed a stock of weapons - chemical, biological, and conventional - in preparation for a clash with the government.

FILE - This Nov. 30, 1989, file photo shows Japanese doomsday cult leader Shoko Asahara in Bonn, Germany.

The attack, one of Japan's worst terrorism incidents, killed 13 people and injured over 6,200. "I have always been wondering why it had to be my daughter and why she had to be killed. Now, I can pay a visit to her grave and tell her of this". He called it appropriate.

Six remain on death row after Friday's executions.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said police have increased vigilance toward the cult's successor organization, Aleph, following the executions.

Japanese authorities said they were on alert for potential retaliation after the executions and local media reported police were visiting groups linked to the Aum and successor cults.

In total, 12 followers had been on death row with Asahara after members of the cult punctured plastic bags to release sarin nerve gas inside train carriages in five co-ordinated attacks.

The injured of the deadly gas attack are treated by rescue workers near Tsukiji subway station in Tokyo, Japan.

Asahara and some of his followers ran unsuccessfully for office in 1990 and became increasingly violent after the defeat, Hong Kong-based newspaper the South China Morning Post reports. The exact number is unclear. "That was my only thought", said Shizue Takahashi, 71, who lost her then-50-year-old husband, the assistant stationmaster Kazumasa, in the Tokyo subway sarin attack, adding many others had been waiting for the day.

Japan executed on Friday the former leader of a doomsday cult and six other members of the group that carried out a sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway in 1995, killing 13 people and shattering the country's myth of public safety.

At a sheep farm in rural Western Australia and other properties, cult scientists began testing sarin while others synthesized the VX nerve agent and launched a failed attempt to manufacture automatic rifles.