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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 …

Prominent Chinese rights lawyer Xie Yang released on bail, but may not be free – Amnesty

Xie Yang reading his final statement during his trial
Xie Yang reading his final statement during his trial.
Chinese human rights lawyer Xie Yang has been released on bail after he admitted to his crimes in what critics called a “show trial” on Monday, according to Amnesty International.

Xie has worked on cases considered politically sensitive by the Communist Party, including defending mainland activists who supported the Hong Kong democracy movement. He was detained in China’s crackdown on legal staff and activists in 2015.

Xie was charged with “inciting subversion of state power and disrupting court order.” He admitted to his crimes in court and pleaded guilty. When asked if he was tortured, he said no, contradicting his previous claims that police used long interrogations, beatings, and sleep deprivation on him.

He was apparently released on bail even though a verdict has not been announced, Amnesty said.

“While on bail, Xie Yang is likely to experience constant surveillance and severe restrictions to his freedom of movement as we have witnessed in other such cases,” said the NGO’s China researcher Patrick Poon. “Such tactics appear to be the authorities’ modus operandi against those defending human rights.”

His wife Chen Guiqiu, who has fled to the US with their two daughters, wrote in an article for Amnesty on Wednesday that her husband was still under surveillance by authorities.

She said in a statement on Thursday that she was able to speak to him over the phone three days ago.

“I asked him why he had to go to the mountains, and not go back to live [with his parents], or at his own home – he said he needed to do physical training in the mountains,” she said.

She said that he spoke very little to his daughters and ended the conversation even though she wanted to continue to talk, saying that the villa he was staying at was closing.

“This is completely unlike the behaviour of someone who had not heard the voices of their wife and daughters for two years,” she said, adding that she feared that drugs had been administered to him.

Chinese state media has called Xie’s claims of torture “fake news.” The EU has expressed concern over his case.

Source: HKFP, Catherine Lai, May 11, 2017

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