Tokyo -- The Tokyo District Court on Wednesday ordered seven former AUM Shinrikyo members to pay a total of 59 million yen to four relatives of a 68-year-old man AUM abducted and killed in 1995.
The court said senior member Yoshihiro Inoue, 31, and six other AUM members should compensate the family of Kiyoshi Kariya, the clerical chief of a notary's office in Tokyo's Meguro Ward, which had sought 128 million yen in damages from eight former AUM members.
Presiding Judge Hiroshi Ohashi said although the defendants did not intend to kill Kariya, cult founder Shoko Asahara, 46, ordered them to abduct Kariya and they were responsible for the unlawful acts of abducting him, confining him and eventually killing him.
Asahara decided to abduct Kariya in order to get information from him on the whereabouts of his sister, who was a member of the cult but had fled from an AUM facility with the intention of quitting the cult.
Inoue and the others abducted Kariya in February 1995 on a street in Tokyo's Shinagawa Ward and confined him in a cult facility in Yamanashi Prefecture. They injected him with an excessive amount of anesthetic in order to get the information, but he died of the overdose.
The judge ruled that one of the defendants was not liable for damages. The court also ruled that Kariya's sister owns a claim to about 44 million yen from the cult's bankruptcy administrator. The sister had demanded the cult and five senior members return a 60 million yen donation she had made to the cult.
In the case, Asahara, whose real name is Chizuo Matsumoto, has been ordered to pay about 103 million yen in damages and return 60 million yen in donations to Kariya's relatives. The family and the cult have already reached a settlement.