Japan executes cult leader

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tokyo, July 6 (IANS) Japan on Friday executed the leader of the Supreme Truth cult who had masterminded the deadly sarin gas attacks on the Tokyo subway in 1995.

The 63-year-old Shoko Asahara, whose real name was Chizuo Matsumoto, had been on death row more than a decade, reports Efe news.

Founded in 1984, the Japanese doomsday cult also known as Aum Shinrikyo, itself into an organisation capable of developing chemical and biological weapons in just one decade.

It even presented a list of candidates for the 1990 general election but did not win any seats in parliament.

Asahara, who had suffered partial blindness since childhood, was detained in May 1995, two months after the nerve agent attack on March 20, 1995, which killed 13 people and injured more than 6,000.

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He was sentenced to death in 2004 for the attack and other crimes including another sarin gas attack in 1994 in Matsumoto, which killed eight people and injured more than 100 others.

The execution of the leader and six other members of the Supreme Truth, came as a result of a 20-year investigation in which all those involved in the incidents have been tried and convicted.

The Supreme Court rejected their appeals in January.

The Japanese Tribunal has prosecuted about 190 cult members for the attacks and other related crimes, including the 1989 murder of lawyer Tsutsumi Sakamoto and his family, and passed six life sentences and 13 death sentences.

–IANS

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