Defense lawyers for Aum Shinrikyo founder Shoko Asahara on April 10 cross-examined a doctor who treated a man seriously injured in the March 1995 nerve gas attack on the Tokyo subway system.
The defense council continued its detailed questioning of Yuichi Hamabe, an emergency center doctor at the metropolitan Bokuto Hospital, about the initial symptoms the patient showed and how he was treated. Hamabe was on the witness stand for the prosecution in Asahara’s 74th trial session before the Tokyo District Court. His patient is one of the 14 people listed on the attempted murder indictment against the accused.
Prosecutors claim that Asahara, whose real name is Chizuo Matsumoto, conspired with other cultists to release sarin in the Tokyo subway cars on March 20, 1995. The attack killed 12 people and seriously injured thousands, including the man Hamabe treated. Hamabe gave the lawyer a detailed explanation of the treatment of the patient, especially during the early stage before doctors at the hospital knew the man had been poisoned by sarin gas. “We did everything that we’re suppose to do on a patient who is critically injured, by observing the symptoms,” he testified, adding that the doctors learned of the possibility of sarin poisoning through TV reports. “We were able to save his life by a hairbreadth,” he said.
In earlier testimony, Hamabe said the victim still suffers some aftereffects, such as difficulty remembering things, even though it has been three years since the attack.
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