Death for chemist behind Japan cult's sarin attack

The Telegraph/January 30, 2004

A chemist who headed the development of a doomsday cult's arsenal of poisonous gases has been sentenced to death for his part in a gas attack on the Tokyo subway in 1995.

Masami Tsuchiya, 39, was found guilty of murder and attempted murder following the sarin gas attack in which 12 people died and more than 5,000 were made ill.

He was also charged over another six gas attacks, including a sarin attack in a residential area in the central city of Matsumoto in June 1994 that killed seven people and hurt 144, Kyodo news agency said.

Tsuchiya, who pleaded not guilty to all charges, is the 11th member of the Aum Shinri Kyo cult to receive the death penalty for the subway killings, although none have been executed pending appeals.

He was studying for a doctorate in chemistry at Tsukuba University when he joined the cult and began developing its arsenal of chemical weapons including VX, mustard and sarin gases.

The end of his trial at the Tokyo District Court, which has lasted eight years, comes a month before a verdict is due in the trial of Shoko Asahara, the cult's leader and alleged mastermind of the sarin attacks.

Asahara, whose real name is Chizuo Matsumoto, also faces the death penalty if found guilty when the verdict is returned on Feb 27.

Ashara set up the cult in 1987 and at one point attracted 15,000 members into its ranks. He preached that the world was coming to an end and that cult members must arm themselves for armageddon.

To see more documents/articles regarding this group/organization/subject click here.


Educational DVDs and Videos