Mastermind behind 1995 Japan sarin-gas attack executed

Japan executes ex-leader of cult behind subway sarin attack that killed 13 – report

Chizuo Matsumoto, also known as Shoko Asahara, had been on death row since 2004. "I hope they will not launch terror attacks", like the 1994 sarin gas attack in Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture that killed eight people. Shoko Asahara, the bearded, self-proclaimed guru who had recruited scientists and others to his cult, was found two months later, hiding in a compartment in a building ceiling. Six remain on death row after Friday's executions. Some of those transferred were not among the seven hanged Friday.

The six others executed on the same day are Yoshihiro Inoue, 48, Tomomitsu Niimi, 54, Tomomasa Nakagawa, 55, Kiyohide Hayakawa, 68, Masami Tsuchiya, 53, and Seiichi Endo, 58.

Six of the seven, including Asahara, had been implicated in the subway attack.

Executions in Japan are carried out in secret, with no advance warning given to the prisoner, their family or legal representatives, according to Amnesty International.

Japan does not give prior notice of executions, but they were later confirmed by the justice ministry. "I wanted (cult members) to confess more about the incident, so it's a pity that we can not hear their account anymore".

Doomsday cult leader Shoko Asahara and several followers were executed Friday for their roles in a deadly 1995 gas attack on the Tokyo subways and other crimes, Japanese media reported. "The death penalty can never deliver this as it is the ultimate denial of human rights".

Aum Shinrikyo, a Japanese doomsday religious movement, founded in 1984, is recognized as a terrorist group by a number of states, including Russia, EU countries, the United States, Canada and Kazakhstan.

Some survivors of the cult's crimes opposed the executions, saying they would end hopes for a fuller explanation of the crimes.

As the cult grew, the families of members began to raise the alarm, and complaints of brainwashing and abuse within Aum Shinrikyo became more common. The attack, which failed, used a refrigerator truck to release the gas and a wind dispersed it in a residential neighbourhood, killing eight and injuring hundreds.

On 16 May, Shoko Asahara was finally arrested.

He "lured young people, who felt a sense of emptiness in Japanese society", she said.

The executions were a long time coming, but they were expected as the last trial in the case had been completed and some of the condemned convicts had been transferred to other prisons earlier this year. Joyu left Aleph in 2006. The cult's activities in various parts of Japan sparked anxiety years after the sarin gas attack. With Asahara's execution, he hoped this fear would go away.

Aum Shinrikyo is believed to still have thousands of followers. Another victim died in 2008. They left punctured bags filled with liquid nerve agent on train lines going through Tokyo's political district.

The attack, one of Japan's worst terrorism incidents, killed 13 people and injured over 6,200.

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