One of the former leaders of the notorious Aum Shinrikyo sect was sentenced to death penalty by the district court of Tokyo. Thirty-eight-year old Tomomitsu Niimi was found guilty of killing 26 people as a result of various attacks, of suffocating lawyer Sakamoto and his family. Niimi also participated in gas attacks in the Tokyo metro in 1995, when thousands of people were hospitalized with serious poisoning, several of them died.
The hearings on Niimi’s case started in 1996. The BBC reports, Niimi’s position underwent a “slight” evolution - from his fanatic devotion to Aum Shinrikyo leader Shoko Asahara to claims that he was simply an executor of Asahara’s orders, that is why they should not sentence him to death penalty.
Niimi claimed in his final plea: “The system, which includes death penalty, will only increase sufferings! Please, set up the new system, where there would be no need in death penalty.” He definitely was not thinking, how many people he killed, but a person, who falls into a sect, does not have an ability to think in a sober way. Niimi, who was considered to be “the minister of internal affairs” of the cult, is going to be hung, but he still hopes for an appeal.
As far as the major teacher of the cult is concerned, the police think that Asahara is the prime organizer of the gas attack in the Tokyo metro. However, it should be mentioned here that the court has already sentenced seven members of the sect to death penalty, but no sentence has been executed yet.
In the year 2000 the sect decided to mislead the public and the police by announcing that it was going to wrap up its activity and change its title: it became Aleph instead of Aum. Other things changed too: its chiefs stopped wearing loose overalls that were associated with wild fanaticism and terrorism; now they wear strict suits and ties. However, they were all exterior changes, the point remained the same.
Pyotr Bely PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov
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