Japan sarin attack cult leader Shoko Asahara executed

Japan sarin attack cult leader Shoko Asahara executed

Japan sarin attack cult leader Shoko Asahara executed

Yuji Ogawara, who heads a lawyers' group against the death penalty at the Japan Federation of Bar Associations, said the executions do not bring closure to Aum's crimes. Despite this, over 2,000 members of another offshoot cult still follow the teachings of Shoko Asahara. Executions are carried out suddenly with little warning to the condemned or their families when the day arrives, following a conviction and appeals process that can stretch out for years, as it did with Asahara. Japan does not give prior notice for executions, and prisoners on death row are not told when their sentence will be carried out until hours before. Thirteen cult members were then on death row.

Of course, while the majority of media coverage will be focused on the leader of this cult being executed.

In addition to Asahara, . Lawyer Tsutsumi Sakamoto of Yokohama disappeared along with his wife and infant son after working on behalf of families attempting to recover their children from the doomsday cult.

Asahara, 63, whose real name was Chizuo Matsumoto, was sentenced to death more than a decade ago for masterminding the subway attack and other acts that resulted in the deaths of 29 people among a total of over 6,500 victims.

The reasons behind the sarin gas attack remain an enigma.

The law says an execution must take place within six months of the sentence being finalised by the courts, but in practice it usually takes several years.

At Aum's peak in 1995, the number of members exceeded 10,000, but now only about 1,650 members belong to the groups that originated from Aum.

Aum Shinrikyo split into Hikari no Wa and Aleph in 2007.

Even though the death penalty has been under fire by global rights groups, a majority of the Japanese public has shown its support for it.

Asahara's case dragged on for several years as Japanese authorities searched for other people involved in the attack, eventually catching and executing five other top suspects. Here, Shoko Asahara sits on a throne on a Moscow stage as he meets with followers on February 17, 1994.The Asahi Shimbun/The Asahi Shimbun via Getty ImagesDOOMSDAY CULTShoko Asahara (center) and members of his cult when they formed their own political party on January 7, 1990. Together the groups control millions of dollars in assets. I wanted experts to ask them questions.

Aum Shinrikyo gained official status as a religion in Japan in 1989 and attracted tens of thousands of followers globally. The group believed in a doctrine revolving around a syncretic mixture of Indian and Tibetan Buddhism, as well as Christian and Hindu beliefs, especially relating to the Hindu god Shiva.

In the final moments of the life of Shoko Asahara and the other six members who were executed, it is not known if they felt remorse - if they feared their own demise - or if they still claimed to be innocent?

"It would be no surprise if another Asahara emerges in the future", Nishida said.

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