RealNews

After 8-Year Trial in Japan, Cultist Is Sentenced to Death

It took eight years to try Shoko Asahara, the former leader of the religious cult Aum Shinrikyo, on charges of masterminding the sarin gas attack in the Tokyo subway in 1995 that killed 12 people, injured 5,500 and shattered Japan’s cherished self-image as one of the world’s safest nations. On Friday, it took more than four hours for the presiding judge in Tokyo District Court to recite guilty verdicts on the 13 charges against him and sentence him to death. As the judge spoke, Mr. Asahara, his trademark flowing black hair and beard now graying and trimmed short, reportedly crossed his arms, smiled, openly yawned, snorted, scratched his head, smelled his fingers, mumbled incoherently and muttered as if reciting mantras. After the judge twice instructed Mr. Asahara to stand to receive his sentence, he was made to stand up by five guards. Mr. Asahara, 48, wearing a black sweatshirt, stood silently as the judge read out the sentence of death. Full Story

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