Mastermind of deadly sarin gas attack in Tokyo executed

Japan executes ex-leader of cult behind subway sarin attack that killed 13 – report

Seven members of the Aum Shinrikyo doomsday cult which carried out a deadly chemical attack on the Tokyo underground in 1995 have been executed, including cult leader Shoko Asahara. In all, 12 followers had been on death row with Asahara for the crimes, which killed 27 people.

Asahara was arrested two months after the attack on the subway system, for being the mastermind behind the attack which used nerve gas and resulted in the killing of thirteen people and leaving more than 6,000 others with severe injuries.

His execution was the first of 13 former Aum members who have been condemned to death.

He was on death row for about 14 years.

The move drew sharp criticism from some lawmakers as well as Amnesty International, which called capital punishment "the ultimate denial of human rights".

It goes without saying that the other six members of Aum Shinrikyo will equally face the same fate in the near future.

Cult guru Shoko Asahara, left, of Aum Shinrikyo walks with Yoshihiro Inoue, then a close aid, in Tokyo.

"These crimes ... plunged people not only in Japan but in other countries as well into deadly fear and shook society to its core", Kamikawa said.

The BBC explained that it took such a long time for Asahara's execution to take place because in Japan, no one may be executed until every accused person and accomplice has been tried, had their appeals heard, and been sentenced.

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"We should have them talk until they die a natural death so that they help prevent a recurrence", he said.

The attack killed eight people and injured more than 100.

FILE - In this March 20, 1995, file photo, the injured of the deadly gas attack are treated by rescuers near Tsukiji subway station in Tokyo.

He was also convicted of the murders of lawyer Tsutsumi Sakamoto, who had been helping parents seeking to free their children of the cult's control, and his wife and their 1-year-old son in November 1989.

The reverberations in Japan of an internal religious cult that utilized terrorism and fear remains in the memory today, just like the brutal events of the Tokyo Sarin attack in 1995. After all, the upper echelons of Aum Shinrikyo being held on death row had denied being directly involved in the terrorist attack.

"I've been in pain for years", he told AFP. Asahara also preached apocalyptic prophesies, which were the genesis of the subway attack: He believed the end of the world was coming, and the attack was a way to prepare.The Asahi Shimbun/The Asahi Shimbun via Getty ImagesPRESS CONFERENCEShoko Asahara (center) at a press conference in October 25, 1990.

The legal proceedings had been dragged out, but recent Japanese media reports said the executions were expected.

The cult claimed to have 10,000 members in Japan and 30,000 in Russian Federation but has disbanded.

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