Japan executes Shoko Asahara, founder of Aum Shinrikyo doomsday cult

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They were on death row for multiple crimes including a 1995 poison gas attack on Tokyo subways that left 13 dead.

Asahara and 12 of his followers were sentenced to death and five others received life sentences.

The cult released sarin gas on the Tokyo subway system in March 1995 killing 13 people and injuring more than 6000.

Hence, with the Heisei Era nearing its end, then the execution of the remaining death row members of Aum Shinrikyo seems set to follow the recent execution of seven members.

With their deaths, Japan will now have to grapple with the aftermath of unanswered questions over the crimes - with no longer any chance of hearing explanations directly from Asahara or the six others.

Amnesty International lamented the executions, saying that these failed to deliver justice and is "the ultimate denial of human rights".

The following are brief descriptions of three major criminal cases involving the AUM Shinrikyo doomsday cult.

It renamed itself Aleph in 2000 and two splinter groups have been formed, including one established by high-profile former member Fumihiro Joyu.

"These crimes ... plunged people not only in Japan but in other countries as well into deadly fear and shook society to its core", Kamikawa said. It was the worst terrorist attack to take place on Japanese soil.

This February 1995, photo shows facilities of Aum Shinrikyo doomsday cult led by its guru Shoko Asahara in Kamikuishiki at the foot of Mount Fuji, background, Japan.

Atsushi Sakahara, who was injured in the attack, welcomed the executions.

As well as plotting the subway sarin gas attack, in which 13 commuters and station staff died, Asahara was found guilty on 13 other counts, including. At its peak, Asahara had tens of thousands of followers worldwide.

At a press conference Friday, former Aum Shinrikyo spokesman Fumihiro Joyu said he carried a "heavy shared responsibility" for the group's crimes.

He said that more than 10 years after he left the cult, he had "no special feeling" for Asahara, but had still been somewhat nervous about the potential repercussions for criticizing him in public.

It is extremely complex to label the religious fundamentals of Aum Shinrikyo. "Now, I can pay a visit to her grave and tell her of this".

There has been strong public support for the Aum convicts to be put to death.

Japanese authorities said they were on alert for potential retaliation after the executions and local media reported police were visiting groups linked to the Aum and successor cults.

Cult members have said they believed Asahara's prophesy that an apocalypse was coming and they alone would survive it.

The cult claimed 10,000 members in Japan and 30,000 in Russian Federation.