Key events in the history of the Aum Shinri Kyo cult, accused in the 1995 sarin gas attack on Tokyo subways:
July 1987: Aum Shinri Kyo is founded by guru Shoko Asahara.
November 1989: Tsutsumi Sakamoto, a lawyer leading a legal crusade against Aum, is kidnapped with his wife and baby. Their bodies are later found buried in the mountains.
June 1994: Seven people are killed and more than 200 are sickened by nerve gas in a residential area in Matsumoto, central Japan.
February 1995: Kiyoshi Kariya, a Tokyo notary public who is trying to persuade his sister to leave Aum, is abducted and later dies.
March 1995: Sarin spreads through Tokyo's subways during morning rush hour, killing 12 and sickening about 5,500. The head of the National Police Agency is shot and seriously wounded.
April 1995: Hideo Murai, a top cult official, is fatally stabbed by a suspected gangster before a crowd of reporters and police.
May 1995: Asahara is arrested. A letter bomb explodes in Tokyo City Hall, seriously injuring the governor's aide.
April 1996: Asahara's trial opens in Tokyo District Court.
October 1998: Cult official Kazuaki Okazaki is convicted of killing the Sakamoto family and a cult member who had tried to quit the group. Okazaki is sentenced to death.
December 1999: Parliament passes laws designed to rein in Aum. Fumihiro Joyu, a cult leader who was not charged in the subway gassing, is released from prison.