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The Aum Shinrikyo Executions: Why Now?

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With the execution of Aum Shinrikyo leader and six of his followers, Japan looks to leave behind an era of tragedy. 
On July 6, 2018, Japanese authorities executed seven members of the religious movement Aum Shinrikyo (Aum true religion, or supreme truth), which carried out the 1995 Tokyo subway sarin attack and a series of other atrocities. None of the seven of the executed men were directly involved in releasing the gas on that tragic day; four of those who did remain under a death sentence, and their executions may be imminent.
The seven executed were involved in planning and organizing the various crimes committed by Aum. Asahara Shoko (born Matsumoto Chizuo), was the founder and leader of the movement, having developed the doctrinal system instrumental to Aum’s violence and its concept of a final cosmic war of good (Aum) against evil (the corrupt material world and everyone — from the Japanese government to the general public — who lived in it). Asahara is believed to have given …

South Korea Top Court OKs Soldier's Death Penalty Over Rampage

"Shooting rampages by bullied South Korean soldiers are not unusual."
South Korea's top court on Friday upheld a death penalty for a soldier convicted of killing five comrades in shooting and grenade attacks in a front-line army unit in 2014.

The verdict by the Supreme Court is final and cannot be appealed, a court official said, requesting anonymity because of department rules. The Defense Ministry said it confirmed the court's ruling.

The conscript, only identified by his surname Yim, had told investigators after his arrest that he assaulted fellow soldiers because he felt insulted by drawings they made of him. He had fled into the forest near the border with North Korea but was captured after a failed suicide attempt.

South Korean courts occasionally issue death sentences but the country has not executed anyone since December 1997. 

Yim has become the 61st person in South Korea on a death row, according to records from the Justice Ministry and the Defense Ministry.

South Korea requires all able-bodied men to serve in the military for about 2 years in the face of a threat from North Korea. 

Shooting rampages by bullied soldiers in South Korean army barracks are not unusual. In 2005, another soldier went on a similar rampage and killed 8 colleagues in anger at superiors who he said verbally abused him. He too was sentenced to death.

Such rampages raised serious questions about the discipline and readiness of South Korea's military, which faces North Korean troops across the world's most heavily fortified border. Confrontations between the rivals deepened recently following the North's nuclear test and long-range rocket launch.

Source: Associated Press, Feb. 19, 2016

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