Last members of sarin attack cult hanged


Japan has executed the last six members of a Japanese doomsday cult who killed 13 people in a sarin attack on Tokyo’s subway.

Aum Shinrikyo cult committed various crimes but was best-known for the 1995 attack, which also injured more than 6,000 and remains Japan’s deadliest terror incident.

Justice Minister Yoko Kamikawa said the six men were hanged on Thursday morning.

Their leader Shoko Asahara, 63, was hanged earlier this month, along with six other members.

Japanese doomsday cult leader Shoko Asahara sits in a police van following an interrogation in Tokyo, Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo September 25, 1995. Mandatory credit Kyodo/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT. JAPAN OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN JAPAN.
Image: Japanese doomsday cult leader Shoko Asahara was executed earlier this month

Founded in 1984, the cult attracted many young people, even graduates of top universities, and amassed an arsenal of chemical, biological and conventional weapons to carry out Asahara’s orders in anticipation of an apocalyptic showdown with the government.

The 13 cult members spent decades on death row while investigations continued and Japan argued about what to do with them.

File photo of special chemical control unit members emerging from an entrance to the Kasumigaseki subway station in Tokyo March 20, 1995
Image: Chemical control unit members at an entrance to Kasumigaseki subway station in 1995

Some activists said executing them would make them martyrs for their cause but, while Japan is one of the few developed nations to retain the death penalty, public support for it remains high.

Victims of their crimes, which also include a sarin attack in the town of Matsumoto and the murder of an anti-cult lawyer and his family, welcomed the executions.

One man who was injured in the subway attack, said that the “world had become slightly brighter” after the news.

In 1995, the group members released sarin in liquid form at five points on the subway network, targeting lines including those passing through Kasumigaseki and Nagatacho, home to the Japanese government.

A police squad leave a Aum Shinri Kyo (Supreme Truth Sect) compound after finishing their shift in the small village of Kamikuishiki at the foot of Mount Fuji in this March 28, 1995 file photo
Image: Police raided the Aum Shinri Kyo (Supreme Truth Sect) compound

Commuters struggled to breathe, their eyes watered and some fell to the ground foaming at the mouth and with blood streaming from their noses.

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After the attack, authorities raided the cult’s headquarters in the foothills of Mount Fuji and found a plant capable of making enough sarin to kill millions of people.

The group has since splintered into three groups, which are closely monitored by authorities.

From – SkyNews