Death sentence affirmed in sarin attack

Nov. 8, 2009 at 8:12 AM

TOKYO, Nov. 8 (UPI) -- Japan's top court has affirmed the death sentences of two men convicted in a fatal sarin gas attack on a subway station, officials said.

The Second Petty Bench of the Supreme Court rejected appeals by Toru Toyota, 41, and Kenichi Hirose, 45, who were convicted of murder in the 1995 sarin attack that killed 12 people. Toyota and Hirose were members of a doomsday cult known as the AUM Shinrikyo.

"It was an indiscriminate mass murder committed systematically for the purpose of defending the cult as an organization. The consequences were extremely grave," the court said in its decision Friday, The Mainichi Daily News reported Sunday.

Toyota, Hirose and six others were convicted of stabbing holes in plastic bags containing the nerve agent sarin and then leaving the bags inside a station and on trains.

Toyota and Hirose argued they should be spared death sentences because they were under the influence of AUM Shinrikyo cult leader Chizuo Matsumoto, 54, who also has been sentenced to death.

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