Cops find woman in Gumma AUM cell

Mainichi Daily News, October 4, 1999

FUJIOKA, Gumma - Police found a woman locked in a cell during a Sunday raid on an AUM Shinrikyo facility that the cult reportedly was using as a disciplinary facility.

The raid was in connection with a case where AUM members allegedly imprisoned a female cult follower in Nagano Prefecture in 1998. During Sunday's raid, police found cells at the Gumma facility - a disused printing shop that houses about 70 cult members - similar to those at the Nagano cult building linked to the 1998 case.

A woman in her 40s was found inside one of the small cells, which measured about 3 square meters, police said. It was not known why the woman was in the cell.

Materials to build seven more cells were found at the facility.

Masahiro Guntani, 30, a current senior member of the cult, and former deputy Ryuji Shimotani, a 37-year-old doctor who quit the group in May last year, were arrested last week for confining a 29-year-old woman for nearly 10 days in a cell inside the Lotus Flower, the AUM facility in Kisofukushima, Nagano Prefecture.

Officers said Sunday's raid was initiated because Guntani, who was in charge of the Lotus Flower, often visited the Fujioka facility. Cult followers moved into the facility in August this year.

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