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PACE rapporteur urges Japan to halt planned executions

The General Rapporteur on abolition of the death penalty for the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), Yves Cruchten (Luxembourg, SOC), has called on the Japanese authorities to halt the apparently planned executions of 13 members of the Aum Shinrikyo cult, who were responsible for the 1995 sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway.

“I have been informed that seven of these thirteen cult members have been transferred from Tokyo Detention Centre to detention centres in other areas of the country. Since, regrettably, executions in Japan are secret, that might be an indication that these persons will soon be executed, even though some of them have asked for re-trial,” said Mr Cruchten.

“I call on the Japanese authorities not to conduct any executions and to commute the death sentences of the 13 members of Aum Shinrikyo and of anyone else condemned to death. Capital punishment is a cruel and inhuman punishment, which is no longer tolerated by the majority of the world’s states. I strongly urge Japan, which is an observer State of the Council of Europe, to take the same path and to abolish the death penalty,” he concluded.