Japan’s Supreme Court has rejected an appeal against the death sentence for Asahara Shōkō (麻原 彰晃), the former leader of the doomsday cult, “AUM Shinri Kyo” (Supreme Truth Sect, now known as Aleph). The decision clears the way for 51 year old Asahara Shoko to be hanged for his role in masterminding the 1995 subway gas attacks. Lawyers of the former head of the cult had argued that he was mentally incompetent, and asked for the case to be suspended. Asahara was sentenced to death by a Tokyo court 2 years ago for the attack. 12 people died and over 5000 were injured when the members of the cult released sarin, a lethal nerve gas on Tokyo’s subways. The attack was directed against trains passing through Kasumigaseki and Nagatacho, home to the Japanese government. This was (and remains, as of 2006) the most serious attack that has occurred in Japan since the end of the Second World War.
The former guru could be hanged at any time, once final approval is given by the justice minister.