Tomomitsu Niimi, a former senior member of Aum Shinrikyo, told prosecutors during questioning that he believed the series of heinous crimes committed by the cult were “absolutely right,” according to an investigative record read in court Wednesday.
Niimi remains faithful to cult founder Shoko Asahara, and has either denied wrongdoing or withheld or refused to enter a plea on murder and other charges in eight cases.
Prosecutors in the trial of another cultist, Kiyohide Hayakawa, read Niimi’s account of the crimes, documented in their reports, before the Tokyo District Court. The reports detail Niimi’s involvement in the alleged killing in February 1989 of cult follower Shuji Taguchi, who had been confined for turning against the cult. “I felt a sense of mission that I had to kill him (Taguchi) at any cost,” Niimi was quoted as telling prosecutors as he detailed the alleged crime. “I wrung his neck pretty hard, and soon I felt his neck break.”
Niimi also told the investigators that the killing was justifiable, because the follower could have damaged the cult’s reputation by going public about an earlier death of another follower during training. “I don’t want to say ‘I’m sorry’ (for the killing),” Niimi is quoted as saying in the report. “I would not have committed (the crime) in the first place if I was going to say such a thing.”
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