Leader Of Japanese Cult Aum Shinrikyo Executed For 1995 Attack

Doomsday cult leader Shoko Asahara and several followers were executed for their roles in a deadly 1995 gas attack on the Tokyo subways and other crimes, Japanese media reported.

Japanese media reports say on Friday, July 6, 2018, Asahara, who has been on death row for masterminding the 1995 deadly Tokyo subway gassing and other crimes, has been executed.

Asahara had been on death row for over a decade for the attack that killed 13 people and and sickened more than 6,000.

The justice ministry confirmed the execution of the seven.

Aum Shinrikyo, which means "supreme truth", began in the 1980s, mixing Hindu and Buddhist beliefs, and it later in elements of apocalyptic Christian prophesies.

The Aum cult, now renamed Aleph, officially disowned Asahara in 2000, but it was never banned.

Asahara and 12 of his followers were sentenced to death by hanging after lengthy trials.

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In a February 2004 ruling, the Tokyo District Court found Asahara guilty of all 13 charges and sentenced him to death, saying, "We can not help saying that the motivation and objective of the crimes were too outrageous and ridiculous, as he tried to control Japan in the name of salvation".

In this 2015 photo, Tokyo subway workers offered silent prayer 20 years after the poison gas attack. The sentence was upheld by the Supreme Court in 2006. The followers of the three groups total about 1,650 in Japan and about 460 in Russian Federation, while the groups hold more than 1 billion yen ($9 million) in assets, according to the agency.

Some members lived in a commune-like complex Asahara established at the foot of Mount Fuji, where the group studied his teachings, practised weird rituals and gathered an arsenal of weapons - including sarin.

Aum members first released it in 1994 in the central Japanese city of Matsumoto, in a failed attack on three judges set to rule on the cult, nevertheless killing eight people and making hundreds ill.

Asahara, who founded Aum in 1987, said that the United States would attack Japan and turn it into a nuclear wasteland.

AUM evolved from a yoga school established by Asahara in 1984.

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