Aum founder's wife to leave prison on Oct 15

Kyodo News/September 12, 2002

Tokyo -- The wife of Shoko Asahara, founder of the Aum Shinrikyo cult, will be released from a prison in Wakayama Prefecture on Oct 15, informed sources said Wednesday.

Tomoko Matsumoto, 44, was arrested in 1995 on suspicion of murdering an Aum member with her husband and others. She was sentenced by a high court to six years in jail in 1999.

Matsumoto has said she has left the cult, which killed 12 people and injured thousands in its sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway in 1995, among other crimes, but public security authorities will monitor her movements after her release, the sources said.

Matsumoto appealed against the high court ruling and promised she would never return to the cult, which now calls itself Aleph, but the Supreme Court dismissed her appeal and confirmed her sentence in July last year.

According to the high court ruling, Matsumoto conspired with her husband Asahara, whose real name is Chizuo Matsumoto, 47, and other senior Aum members to strangle Kotaro Ochida, 29, with a rope at an Aum facility in Kamikuishiki in Yamanashi Prefecture in January 1994.

Asahara has been tried on 13 cases including the subway attack.

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