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Aum Shinrikyo founder Shoko Asahara’s defense counsel demanded during the guru’s trial session Thursday that their lead attorney, Yoshihiro Yasuda, be immediately released from jail.

At the beginning of Asahara’s 102nd murder trial session Thursday, lawyer Osamu Watanabe stressed that the defense team stands by Yasuda, who was arrested Dec. 6 for allegedly conspiring with his client to hide rental income, preventing a government-backed loan recovery body from seizing it.

“We feel great indignation with the authorities for causing a situation like this,” said Watanabe, who is in charge of coordinating the 12-member defense team. “For the last three years since our appointment as defense lawyers, we have strengthened our unity as a team by sharing hardships. We are determined to carry on our effort with the lead attorney.” Yasuda has reportedly maintained silence on the asset-hiding charge.

During the morning session, the defense continued its cross-examination of cult figure Satoru Hashimoto over his alleged role in the June 1994 nerve gas attack in Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture.

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