Saturday, September 25, 2021

Japan executes sarin attack cult members: media

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Several members of a cult that carried out a deadly 1995 sarin attack on Tokyo’s subway were executed on Thursday, Japanese media said, weeks after the group’s leader was hanged.

Public broadcaster NHK said at least two members of the Aum Shinrikyo cult had been executed on Thursday, while other media did not specify a number.

There was no immediate official confirmation.

Thursday’s executions come after authorities hanged “guru” Shoko Asahara and six of his one-time followers earlier this month, after years on death row.

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Those executions left six remaining Aum members on death row.

Japan is one of the few developed nations to retain the death penalty, and public support for it remains high despite international criticism.

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The Aum’s 1995 sarin attack on the Tokyo subway during rush hour killed 13 people and injured thousands more.

It plunged the massive capital into chaos, and prompted a crackdown on the cult’s headquarters in the foothills of Mount Fuji, where authorities discovered a plant capable of producing enough sarin to kill millions.

Aum members have been convicted of an additional sarin attack in the town of Matsumoto the year before the Tokyo attack, as well as the murder of an anti-cult lawyer and his family.

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Despite the crackdown on the Aum, it was never formally banned.

It officially disowned Asahara in 2000 and renamed itself Aleph, but experts say the former guru retained a strong influence before his execution.

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