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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 …

Iran death penalty: Justice minister calls for fewer executions

Watching a public execution in Iran
Darkness at noon: Watching a public execution in Iran
Iran's justice minister is looking for an "effective punishment" for criminals instead of execution, according to local media.

Mostafa Pourmohammadi said he thought the number of capital crimes should be revised, the Tasnim News Agency said.

"In fact we want to find the most effective kind of punishment so that we are able to consider replacing execution," Mr Pourmohammadi said.

The minister said the death penalty should be kept for "corrupt people".

"Of course, maintaining execution as a punishment is still on the agenda, but not in the numbers implemented today," Mr Pourmohammadi said.

"The punishment of execution cannot be rejected, as there are some corrupt people in the country and there is no way for them but execution," he added.

However, the minister observed that executions seemed to have had no deterrent effect over the past years.

Iran executed at least 977 people in 2015 - the vast majority for drug-related crimes - compared with 743 the year before, according to Amnesty International.

BBC Persian sources said that executing people for drug offences has recently sparked a debate in Iran. Users caught with small amounts of drugs intended for personal use are being sentenced to death, which some believe is excessive [No kidding? - DPN].

Iran's justice system is based on Sharia law, which does not make capital punishment obligatory for drug crimes.

Amnesty figures released in April stated that Iran, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are responsible for 89% of the world's judicial executions.

However, this does not take account of China, where thousands are believed to be killed and the records kept secret.

Source: BBC news, October 30, 2016

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