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Ex-Aum cult member Kikuchi appeals 5-year jail sentence


Former Aum Shinrikyo cult member Naoko Kikuchi, 43, has filed an appeal against a five-year prison term handed down to her by the Tokyo District Court on June 29.

Kikuchi, who was arrested in 2012 after 17 years on the run, was convicted of attempted murder over her involvement in a parcel bomb sent to the Tokyo governor's office in 1995. She pleaded not guilty.

Kikuchi was initially arrested for her alleged involvement in the 1995 Tokyo subway sarin gas attack. She confessed to being involved in production of the sarin gas, but professed not to know what it was at the time. Prosecutors did not indict her on that charge.

In filing her appeal with the Tokyo High Court on Friday, Kikuchi insisted again that she had not been informed of the end purpose of what she was working on, Fuji TV reported. She admitted helping to acquire the raw materials for the bomb and taking them to the cult facility in Yamanashi Prefecture and then to other locations in Tokyo. However, she told the court that she did not know the materials could be used to make a bomb or that they would be used for any terrorist activity.

The parcel bomb was sent to the office of then Tokyo Gov Yukio Aoshima. It exploded, seriously injuring one employee in the governor's office.

Kikuchi's case was heard by a panel of three professional and six lay judges.

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Ain't gonna happen now with the Shinkansen incident to remind everyone.

Cost /kg

0 ( +1 / -1 )

You're joking! You're getting off sooo easily, after being an accessory to mass murder and running from the law for nearly 2 decades.

Just do the fricken time.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

She's not guilty in the terms of the charges. Let her go and start a new life, she's harmless. Instead add those five year to some of the real murderers who got a far too short prison term.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

Rather than jail time, maybe sentence her to five years of counseling. She was duped by the cult, and probably truly did not know the real purpose of the tasks she was asked to do. Jail time is not the answer, but psyche evil is definitely needed.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

She spent 17 years on the run. Her sentence should match the time she avoided the authorities. Five years is a very light sentence for being part of the worst act of domestic terrorism in Japan's history.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

All of the Aum Shinrikyo mass murderers got off too easily. Ain't one of 'em yet felt the noose. And some of the perps got only a slap on the wrist for the evils they committed. She is one of those who received light punishment. The term "ex-Aum ..." is used on her. Bet when she's freed she scrambles back to the safety of one of those Aum compounds.

And yet this murderous sect is still busily recruiting new members ... and who knows doing what behind their sealed doors/walls.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@ edojin "All of the Aum Shinrikyo mass murderers got off too easily. Ain't one of 'em yet felt the noose. "

As far as I know the main perpetrators who were charged with the Sarin attacks got either the death penalty or life imprisonment. Those who received the death penalty have not been executed yet in case they were needed to testify at trials of fugitives still at large. Now that they have been caught and tried, I wouldn't be surprised if we see some executions in the next few years.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

CGB Spender

She's not guilty in the terms of the charges. Let her go and start a new life, she's harmless

What makes you think she's not guilty? what makes you think she's harmless? Because she said so? The Aum cult was full of highly intelligent yet mentally ill people, and Kikuchi was one of them. There is no way she didn't know that the chemicals she was gathering was for. And if she truly thought that she was innocent, then why didn't she stand trial and plead her case in 1995 instead of running for 17 years?

Either way, 5 years of incarceration is a very very small price to pay for the hideous terrorist acts she helped inflict on so many innocent lives. I don't know if you have ever seen any of the survivors of the sarin attacks, but if you have, you surely would want this woman roaming the streets. Some of these survivors are in a complete vegetative state, and will never be able live a normal life again because of her. I would personally be LIVID if I were a relative or loved one of one of the victims, and knew that she was only going to get 10 years let alone 5.

She needs to spend 10 years in prison just for running, plus another 20 for accessory to mass murder AL THE VERY LEAST IMHO.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

&Mirai Hayashi "you surely would want this woman roaming the streets."

Pretty sure this was a typo and you meant to write "wouldn't want".

Agree with what you wrote, especially regarding the injured survivors, and would add that the lives of the family members who have to look after the vegetative survivors have also been robbed. It was a crime with consequences that will continue to last for years. I think Kikuchi should have received a longer sentence just for the fact she evaded justice for so long.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Let her appeal, and give her life.

Let's not forget, this woman was fingered as one of the key disciples of the melon-loving guru. That's what got her mugshot on the posters that graced many a billboard for close to two decades. The "I didn't know" defense rings as badly as a dodgy clock. Indeed, some of us old timers actually remember when the AUM whack jobs were prancing round the streets in elephant hats, burying lawyers alive, brewing poisonous gas, and a number of other hazardous pastimes. Indeed, although described as a "religious cult", a better description would be a terrorist organization. Kikuchi should be just happy she isn't facing the noose.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

They should hand her with Life without parole and on death row at least that what you would be asking for if this was the USA. Japan is easy on criminals. They get a slap on the wrist.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I'd love to know where this woman is getting the funding needed for her legal team to appeal. Seems to me money was possibly hidden away from her time in the terrorist group - or she still has connections to them. Either way - I am hoping the appeal results in a doubling of her manifestly inadequate sentence. Basically it seems if you have committed a major crime, you have a green light to go on the run for 17 years because you won't be punished for evading the authorities. Just try not to get caught.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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