Shoko Asahara, 63, the leader of the Aum Shinrikyo doomsday sect, who organized a sarin terrorist attack in the Tokyo subway in 1995, and several of his followers have been executed in Japan.
Askhara and his followers that have spent years in death row, have been put to death by hanging, the NHK television channel reported on Friday, July 6. The country’s Ministry of Justice confirmed the execution. Although the exact number of those executed was not officially reported, the overall number of members of the extremist organization sentenced to death in 2004 was thirteen. According to a number of Japanese media, seven people were hanged while six remain on death row.
In 2004, Askhara and 12 of his supporters were sentenced to death. Since then, they have been waiting for the execution of the death sentence. Their lawyers repeatedly tried to appeal the verdict and reached the Supreme Court, but courts turned down all petitions.
The doomsday sect Aum Shinrikyo was founded in Japan in the 1980s and has attracted many young supporters, many of whom were from top universities. According to various sources, Aum Shinrikyo had from 30 to 50 thousand members in the country and worldwide, notably former Soviet republics.
In 1994, sectarians killed 8 people when they sprayed the toxic agent sarin in the town of Matsumoto in Nagano. In March 1995, followers of Asahara again used sarin in the Tokyo subway. Then more than 10 people died, another 6 thousand were injured.