Asahara ejected again as Sakamoto testimony given

For the second day in a row, a former top member of Aum Shinrikyo testified about when, where and how Aum founder Shoko Asahara ordered his lieutenants to murder lawyer Tsutsumi Sakamoto and his family.

Also for the second straight day, Asahara was ejected from the courtroom at the Tokyo District Court. Kiyohide Hayakawa, 47, a former close aide to Asahara, testified for the prosecution about Asahara’s orders to kill the Sakamotos — testimony that for the most part agreed with that given the day before by key Aum figure Kazuaki Okazaki, 36.

Hayakawa testified that Asahara was at the cult’s complex in Shizuoka Prefecture late Nov. 2 or early Nov. 3, 1989, when he gave the order to kill Sakamoto, saying the attorney would be an obstacle for Aum in the future. Like Okazaki, Hayakawa has admitted in his own Tokyo District Court trial that he was one of six cultists who took part in killing Sakamoto, 33, his wife, Satoko, 29, and the couple’s 1-year-old son, Tatsuhiko, at their Yokohama apartment on Nov. 4, 1989.

Mirroring the proceedings on Feb. 13, Asahara repeatedly interrupted the hearing, saying such things as “(Hayakawa is) telling a lie,” and “This is Shoko Asahara,” sometimes in a loud voice. The presiding judge repeatedly ordered him to remain silent. And at some points, Asahara, the judge, a prosecutor and Hayakawa spoke simultaneously, sending the proceedings into turmoil. Asahara was escorted from the courtroom 40 minutes after the session began after ignoring the judge’s order to be quiet.