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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 …

Bahrain: Cassation Court upholds trio death sentence

Bahrain Cassation Court
Manama, Jan. 9 (BNA): Advocate General at the Public Prosecution's Technical Office, Haroon Alzayani, said the Court of Cassation today ruled in the case of murder of first-lieutenant Tareq Mohammed Al Shehi and policemen Mohammed Raslan and Ammar Abdu Ali Mohammed.

The Cassation Court accepted the objection in form and rejected it in substance, upholding the death penalty ruling against the three main convicts.

The crime dates back to 3 March 2014 when the suspects planted an explosive device, lured the policemen to its location and detonated the device killing the three policemen.

Eight terror suspects were referred to the Criminal Court, of whom five were in custody and three were still at large.

The suspects were charged with organizing, running a terror group aimed to undermine the provisions of the Constitution, prevent official institutions from working, and pursued terror blasts to achieve their purposes. They recruited elements and carried out the activities of manufacturing, detonating explosive devices and targeted the public security men to kill them so as weaken the state, stir unrest and topple the regime.

The suspects from the third to the eighth were charged with joining the terror group. They along with the second suspect implemented terroristic activities and committed the crimes of murder and attempted murdering of policemen, damaged public properties, possessed, stored, handled and used explosive substances. They committed all of these crimes to achieve terroristic purposes in addition to funding their terror group and financing its activities.

The High Criminal Court deliberated the case and sentenced three suspects with death penalty and the remaining suspects with life in jail and stripping the nationality of some of them, which was also upheld by the Court of Appeals.

The case was referred to the Court of Cassation in compliance with the provisions of Bahraini law which considers a death sentence automatically subject to referral to the Court of Cassation.

The Court of Cassation earlier cancelled the sentence and returned the case to the Court of Appeal to consider it anew. The case was deliberated by the latter court which upheld the same sentence in view of the incontestable material and verbal evidences and referred the case to the Court of Cassation once again which ruled as above by rejecting the objection and upholding the sentence.

Source: Bahrain News Agency, January 9, 2017


Bahrain uses torture evidence to sentence three more to death


Bahrain’s highest court has today (9th January) upheld the death sentences of three men, despite allegations that they were tortured into making false confessions. Their executions are now imminent.

Abbas al-Samea, Sami Mushaima, and Ali al-Singace were originally sentenced to death in February 2015.

All three were tortured into signing false ‘confessions’ that were used against them in court.

Mr Mushaima was forced to sign documents despite being illiterate. He is a relative of a prominent opposition politician, but has never been involved in activism.

Mr al-Samea was admitted to hospital for surgery as a result of his interrogation. He is a PE teacher and aspiring photojournalist who had taken pictures at a protest.

The three men’s death sentences were overturned in October 2016 after a court ruled that their initial sentences were “misjudgements.”

However, in December 2016, the appeals court reinstated their death sentences.

Human rights organization Reprieve wrote to Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May asking her to raise the issue of police torture and the death penalty ahead of her meeting in Bahrain last month.

Millions of pounds in UK government aid have been spent on training Bahrain’s police, prison guards and torture watchdog in recent years.

Commenting, Maya Foa, a director of Reprieve, said:
“It is extremely alarming that Bahrain, a close ally of Britain, is gearing up to execute three people, all of whom were convicted on the basis of false ‘confessions’ extracted through torture. Abbas al-Samea, Sami Mushaima, and Ali al-Singace will be the first people to be executed in Bahrain in six years. All three were charged with political offences and tortured into signing ‘confessions’ that were used against them in court - despite one of them being illiterate and not able to read the document. On her recent visit to Bahrain, Theresa May said that the UK 'does not uphold our values and human rights by turning our back on this issue' yet apparently declined to raise the cases of these prisoners facing imminent execution. The UK must do more to ensure its close allies do not render them complicit in the gravest abuses.”
  • The full text of the letter to the Prime Minister is available on Reprieve’s website.
  • Reprieve's research into UK support for Bahrain is available here, while further detail about the cases is available on request.

Source: Reprieve, January 9, 2017. Reprieve is an international human rights organization.

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