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WHY WE USE SYMBOLS/ICONS IN OUR LISTS.

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Convicted Members Return

Vol. 13, No. 1, 1996

Aum Shinrikyo

Mainichi Daily News

12/18/95

AP, Toronto Globe and Mail

Members of cult admit role in attack

12/12/95

The Washington Post

Senators Scold Spy Agencies Over Cult; Japanese Cult Had Network of Front Companies, Investigators Say

R. Jeffrey Smith

11/2/95; 11/1/95

A15;A8

 

 

 

Convicted Members Return

Nine of the 45 convicted Aum Shinrikyo followers who received suspended sentences have returned to the cult, according to a survey by Kyodo News Service. Six among the more than 300 arrested were given prison terms, while 46 received suspended sentences and two were fined. Most of those who returned to the group joined five to seven years ago and held supervisory positions in science and technology, and welfare. (Mainichi Daily News, 12/18/95)

Why They Did It
Aum leader Shoko Asahara, through his lawyer, confessed in October, on the eve of his trial, that he was responsible for the string of crimes committed by the cult. But the attorney added that Asahara made the confession (to unspecified crimes) simply to thwart moves to disband Aum. (Japan Times, 10/6/95). Meanwhile, in December, two senior Aum members pleaded guilty to murder charges in connection with the nerve gas attack. Toru Toyoda, 27, and Kenichi Hirose, 31, admitted they spread the sarin gas in the subway. Said Toyoda: "I feel the gravity of the crime. I have nothing to say to defend my conduct." The getaway car driver reportedly said he was innocent because he was brainwashed at the time into thinking that nothing Shoko Asahara ordered could be wrong. (From "Members of cult admit role in attack," AP Toronto Globe and Mail, 12/12/95)

Another Aum follower, Hideaki Yasuda, 28, said in court that he strangled a fellow member, the former cult pharmacist, because Asahara threatened to kill him if of he did not commit the act. Yasuda claims he was under duress when he strangled the pharmacist, that he had no choice. (From "Killing Friend was only way to stay alive, ex-cultist says," Japan Timers, 11/9/95)

Senate Scolds CIA on Aum

The CIA and other U.S. intelligence agencies came under fire from senators who convened a hearing on Aum in November for failing to take note of the group before the subway disaster. [The Atlanta Constitution ran a feature on 11/5/95 about the worldwide reach of Aum membership and sources of technology, including the U.S.) Senior intelligence officials acknowledged that they were unaware of Aum's existence. Said a CIA official: "I really don't see any inclination, here or abroad, to have the CIA running around peering into religious groups around the world, to see who's naughty and nice." Sen. Sam Nunn --who noted that Aum allegedly preached Armageddon between the United States and Japan, predicted war, assassinated its opponents, advertised for members on Russian television, and penetrated Japanese police organizations responded: " I understand what you are saying about religion, but it just seems to me the massive scope of this operation should have come to the attention of somebody in the CIA or FBI in America." A Pentagon representative said: "There are a lot of cults out there, and we don't normally scan all of those. But . . . we're learning more and more about this phenomenon, and I think we've got to do better." (From "Senators Scold Spy Agencies Over Cult," by R. Jeffrey Smith, The Washington Post, 11/2/95, A15; Japanese Cult Had Network of Front Companies, Investigators Say," by R. Jeffrey Smith, The Washington Post, 11/1/95, A8)

 

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