Japan hangs doomsday cult members who attacked subway with sarin

Japan hangs doomsday cult members who attacked subway with sarin

After a trial that lasted eight years, Asahara was found guilty of masterminding the attack and sentenced to death in 2004.

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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.

Japan's justice minister says she approved the executions of a cult leader and six of his followers because of the seriousness of their crimes and the pain they inflicted.

Several of those executed Friday may have had requests for retrials pending, Amnesty International said.

The leader of the Japanese doomsday cult that carried out a deadly 1995 sarin attack on the Tokyo subway was executed Friday along with six of his followers, decades after the shocking crime.

"The death penalty can never deliver this as it is the ultimate denial of human rights", Hiroka Shoji, the group's East Asia Researcher, said in a statement.

Seki was a minor when he killed four people - a 42-year-old corporate executive, the man's wife, 36, their 4-year-old daughter and the executive's 83-year-old mom.

Twelve other members of Aum Shinrikyo were sentenced to death for their roles in the Tokyo attack.

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Asahara founded Aum Shinrikyo in 1984 and quickly attracted thousands of disciples, combining forecasts of a coming apocalypse - which would come after the USA attacked Japan and turned it into a nuclear wasteland - with traditional religious teachings and new age tactics.

The agency said it searched a total of 16 facilities of three groups across Japan on Friday, including those of the cult's successor Aleph and the Hikarinowa, or the Circle of Rainbow splinter group launched by former AUM spokesman Fumihiro Joyu.

The following are brief descriptions of three major criminal cases involving the AUM Shinrikyo doomsday cult.

The attack killed eight people and injured more than 100. "Thinking that makes me feel frustrated", Takahashi said.

He declined to comment on media reports that some of Asahara's followers were also hanged.

Asahara and some of his followers ran unsuccessfully for office in 1990 and became increasingly violent after the defeat, Hong Kong-based newspaper the South China Morning Post reports.

On 16 May, Shoko Asahara was finally arrested. Under this Syncretic belief system, Asahara proclaimed himself to be the Lamb of God and at other times Christ.

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.

After he and 24 other AUM members unsuccessfully ran in the House of Representatives election in 1990 in an attempt to take over the state, he started planning mass murders of members of the public in revenge, according to the prosecutors.

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