Death Upheld in Japan Cult Case

From the Associated Press

A Japanese court today rejected a former doomsday cult member’s appeal of his death sentence for crimes that included the 1995 Tokyo nerve gas attack, which killed 12 people.

Tomomitsu Niimi, former “home affairs minister” of the Aum Supreme Truth cult, was sentenced to hang in 2002 for killing 26 people in seven attacks.

Niimi gained notoriety at the start of his trial in 1996 by refusing to enter pleas and pledging eternal loyalty to the cult leader, Shoko Asahara, who was sentenced to die in 2004.

Niimi has since reportedly admitted all charges brought against him except involvement in the subway attack. But he said he was following Asahara’s orders and shouldn’t be subject to the death penalty.