Retrial request for AUM Shinrikyo cult founder Asahara dismissed by high court

The Mainichi Daily News, Japan/July 16, 2009

A high court has upheld a lower court's refusal to open a retrial for AUM Shinrikyo cult founder Shoko Asahara, who has been on death row since he was convicted of masterminding several serious crimes, including the Tokyo subway nerve gas attacks.

The Tokyo High Court dismissed an appeal filed by Asahara, 54, whose real name is Chizuo Matsumoto, against the Tokyo District Court's dismissal of his request for retrial in March. Asahara has appealed the high court decision to the Supreme Court.

Asahara was sentenced to death for masterminding a series of crimes carried out by cult members, including the March 1995 sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway system, which left 12 people dead and thousands of others injured, and the murder of anti-AUM lawyer Tsutsumi Sakamoto and his family in 1989.

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