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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 …

Pakistan hangs 2 'hard core' militants convicted by military courts

Pakistan has hanged 2 "hard core" Taliban terrorists convicted of terrorism-related offenses by controversial military courts which were revived after 2 years ignoring opposition from rights groups. 

The executions were carried out at a high-security prison in Punjab province Tuesday, the army said in a late-night statement. It said the 2 "hard core terrorists" were involved in committing "heinous offences relating to terrorism, including killing of civilians, attacking Armed Forces, Law Enforcement Agencies, polio vaccination team and employees of a NGO."

The army did not elaborate where the trials were held and when the initial punishment was announced. 

The 2 convicts were identified as Muhammad Shahid Omar and Fazl e Haq - both active members of the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). Military courts were restored last month for another 2 years after their initial 2-year term expired in January.

The courts were set up after a constitutional amendment after a terror attack on an army-run school in Peshawar in December 2014 killed more than 150 people, most of them students. 

While Pakistani authorities maintain the military courts are an "effective deterrent" against terrorism, rights groups question transparency of the trials because of the secrecy surrounding the special tribunals.

The military courts have handed down the death penalty to more than 160 militants and yesterday's hangings took the number of those executed so far to 23.

Also, the executions came on a day when Amnesty International in a worldwide report said Pakistan reduced the number of executions by 73 % in 2016 compared to the year before.

Source: The Times, April 13, 2017

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