Aum member without a lawyer since October ’02

A former Aum Shinrikyo cult member has been without a defense lawyer since a district court sentenced him to death 20 months ago, judicial sources revealed Thursday.

The Tokyo High Court has been unable to schedule appeal hearings for Seiichi Endo, 44, who was handed the death penalty for his part in the deadly sarin attack on the Tokyo subway in 1995 and other charges, they said.

The initial Tokyo District Court ruling stated that Endo, along with two other members of the doomsday cult, which now calls itself Aleph, produced the deadly gas used in the attack.

A dozen people were killed in the attack and more than 5,000 were injured.

The high court usually starts procedures to select a state-appointed lawyer for a defendant after receiving trial records from the district court.

Some 38,000 pages of records on Endo’s case took an unusually long 14 months before reaching the high court on Dec. 25, according to the sources.

It took only two months for the 56,000 pages of records on Aum founder Shoko Asahara to reach the high court after his death sentence was handed down in February, they said.