Cultists protest police crackdown


Japan Times/June 8, 1999

Aum Shinrikyo filed a written protest Tuesday with the Metropolitan Police Department over extensive raids on Aum facilities in connection with suspected trespassing and other minor charges.

A cultist was arrested late last month for allegedly trespassing at a private apartment building in Tokyo's Setagaya Ward to distribute fliers. "The unreasonable and unnecessary arrest of the Aum follower and confiscation of more than 564,000 fliers show that the police want to strictly control any religious activity of Aum," spokesman Hiroshi Araki told a news conference.

Anxieties have been increasing because the public does not have much access to information about Aum, Araki said, adding that the police are infringing on the cult's freedom of expression by confiscating the fliers.

Araki said the police should "return to their original mission" and act as an "objective" mediator between the cult and local people so that talks can be held.

According to the MPD, cult facilities were searched in Sendai, Kyoto, Yokohama, Nagoya, Osaka, Fukuoka, Kosai in Shiga Prefecture, Naha in Okinawa Prefecture and Kanazawa in Ishikawa Prefecture.

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