Japanese sarin attack cult member's appeal denied

The Japanese Supreme Court recently turned down an appeal from Masami Tsuchiya, a member of the Aum Shinrikyo cult who has been sentenced to death for crimes that include the 1995 sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway.

After the ruling is finalized, Tsuchiya will become the 11th AUM member to be placed on death row. There are two other appeals, one for Seiichi Endo and one for Tomomasa Nakagawa, that remain pending at the Supreme Court after death sentences were passed at lower courts, according to MDN.Mainichi.jp.

Presiding Justice Kohei Nasu said in his ruling that the AUM crimes were heinous and that Tsuchiya played a major role in the deaths of at least 13 people in six cases by developing and producing the poisonous gas.

According to the ruling, Tsuchiya, along with AUM founder Shoko Asahara and senior cult members, released the deadly gas in the subway in March of 1995, killing 12 people. They are also responsible for the murder of a man in Osaka in December 1994, MDN.Mainichi.jp reports.

Tsuchiya was also convicted for his role in another AUM sarin gas attack in a residential neighborhood in Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture, according to MDN.Mainichi.jp. That attack killed seven people and left many others very ill.

Asahara’s death sentence has already been finalized.