TOKYO (TR) – Japan’s Supreme Court finalized the death sentence for one of the key players in the Aum Shinrikyo cult’s sarin gas attacks on the Tokyo subway system in 1995 that killed 13 and left thousands injured, news service Kyodo reported.
The nation’s top court upheld the death penalty Friday for Tomomasa Nakagawa, 49, a former physician, after earlier rejecting an appeal by a lower court against his death sentence. He received the death penalty in 2003 for his role in the subway attacks as well as the earlier incidents, including the 1994 nerve gas attack in the city of Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture, which killed eight.
Nakagawa has 10 days to file an objection to the ruling over technicalities such as the wording of the ruling, Kyoto News said. The cult produced its own sarin gas used in the attacks; the United Nations classifies the gas as a weapon of mass destruction.
A decision by the top court on Monday over the appeal by another Aum member, Seiichi Endo, 51, a virologist and veterinarian, against his death sentence, will effectively end the more than 16 years of trials and investigations connected to the doomsday cult’s deadly activities, Kyodo said.
The Tokyo District Court convicted Aum Shinrikyo founder and guru Shoko Asahara, 56, in 2004 for his leading role in the murder of 27 people in 13 separate criminal cases. That sentence against Asahara, whose real name is Chizuo Matsumoto, has already been finalized.
In Japan, after a death order has been issued, the condemned prisoner is only informed of their impending execution on the day it is to be carried out. The family of the condemned and his or her legal team are notified after the execution has taken place.