Japan denies plea by sarin gas mastermind

Japan’s Supreme Court denied a plea on Monday to retry Shoko Asahara, the founder of the cult Aum Shinrikyo, who is on death row for his role behind the 1995 sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway system.

The plea was lodged by Asahara’s 29-year-old daughter, who claimed that a key witness in the original trial recanted his earlier testimony. The witness allegedly disavowed his contention that cult leader ordered him to produce sarin, claiming instead that a senior member of the group was responsible for the order, according to Breitbart.

The Tokyo District court rejected her call for a retrial in March of 2009 and the Tokyo High Court then rejected her appeal in July of the same year.

Asahara was sentenced to death in February 2004 over the subway attack and 12 other cases. The top court rejected his appeal and the sentence was fully finalized, Breitbart reports.

In March of 1995, Aum Shinrikyo members released sarin gas on five Tokyo subway trains in a coordinated attack that claimed the lives of 12 people, seriously injured 54 and sickened almost one thousand people.  Police revealed the true extent of the cult’s activities over the following week, including finding anthrax and Ebola virus cultures in cult facilities.