Death for cult member who murdered family


South China Morning Post, Saturday, July 29, 2000

A court sentenced a seventh former member of the Aum Shinrikyo doomsday cult to death yesterday for murders linked to the group's killing of a man who wanted to leave the group and a lawyer investigating the cult.

Kiyohide Hayakawa, 51, was charged with the murder of a lawyer opposed to the cult and his wife and baby in 1989 and also for strangling a member who tried to quit.

Tokyo District Court judge Kaoru Kanayama said Hayakawa deserved the penalty because he played the main role in the extremely brutal killing of lawyer Tsutsumi Sakamoto's family.

"It is unforgivable that he showed no hesitation to kill in the interests of the religious group," Judge Kanayama said. "There is no room at all for mercy. We cannot see even a fragment of humanity in him."

Hayakawa had also been charged with building a factory to produce the sarin gas unleashed in the attack on the Tokyo subway in 1995 that killed 12 people.

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