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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 …

Utah May be Forced to Use the Firing Squad in Future Executions

 Utah's firing squad execution chair
Utah's firing squad execution chair
Utah is one step closer to returning to the firing squad as its only realistic form of capital punishment.

The Pfizer drug company has announced that it will no longer make available several of its drugs for use in state-sanctioned executions. Pfizer was the only U.S. firm still making, and allowing, drugs used in executions.

18 months ago Utah Rep. Paul Ray, R-Clinton, got his HB11 passed into law. It specifically says if lethal drugs aren't available at the time a death warrant is to be imposed, then the form of execution shall be a firing squad.

In the 2016 Legislature retiring Sen. Steve Urquhart, R-St. George, had SB189, which would have done away with the death penalty in Utah from this time forward.

Those already sentenced to death could still be executed.

SB189 passed in the Senate, but never got a vote by the whole House.

An anti-death penalty group estimates that it costs $1.6 million for Utah to go through all the of court appeals in a capital case, much more than it would cost to keep a convicted murderer in prison for life.

Urquhart and others argued that the death penalty is archaic and that modern DNA and other criminal high-tech detection shows some people are convicted of, and executed for, crimes they did not commit.

Since 1975, when the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty, Utah has executed 7 murderers and have 9 currently on death row awaiting execution.

With the international drug firm's decision over the weekend, it now appears those Utah murderers, if they are finally executed, will be killed by firing squad.

Source: utahpolicy.com, May 16, 2016

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