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Niimi’s wife held in bid to pressure man to join Aleph

Kyodo

The wife of a condemned Aum Shinrikyo figure was arrested Wednesday for allegedly trying to forcibly recruit an acquaintance into Aleph, the cult’s successor sect, Osaka police said.

Yuki Niimi, 36, the wife of death-row inmate Tomomitsu Niimi, 49, is suspected of using her husband’s notoriety as a mass murderer as a threat to get the man, who is in his 30s, to join the group, the police said.

She began exchanging messages with the man, whom she had previously met in person, on Facebook from around spring.

The police have been on high alert since Aleph recently ramped up recruiting activities, including making use of social networking services.

Yuki Niimi married Tomomitsu Niimi, who was already on death row, in August 2012. She was thought to have left Aleph, but the latest house search turned up a photo of Aum founder Shoko Asahara, leading the police to believe she is still a cultist.

Tomomitsu Niimi, one of Aum’s first members, served as Asahara’s bodyguard. He was convicted of 11 crimes, including taking part in the 1995 Tokyo sarin attack killed 13 and injured over 6,000.