Prosecutors demanded the death penalty Friday for Aum Shinrikyo’s former intelligence chief for conspiring in the March 1995 sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway system, which killed 12 people and injured thousands. Yoshihiro Inoue, 29, also stands accused of being involved in nine other criminal cases, including the lynching of two cult followers — Shuji Taguchi in February 1989 and Kotaro Ochida in January 1994. He has also been indicted for participating in the abduction, confinement and murder of a Tokyo notary public in February 1995. Inoue has admitted the charges and apologized to the families of victims during his trial at the Tokyo District Court, saying, “I was really a big fool.” He is the seventh former cult member for whom capital punishment has either been sought or passed out this year. In a statement read before the Tokyo District Court, prosecutors said Inoue, along with senior Aum follower Seiichi Endo and the cult’s late science chief Hideo Murai, conspired with cult founder Shoko Asahara to launch the sarin gas attack on March 20, 1995. The four decided to carry out the attack with the aim of distracting police from searching the cult’s facilities, as police suspected at the time that Aum was involved in the abduction of public notary Kiyoshi Kariya, prosecutors said. The prosecutors added that Inoue enthusiastically took part in the “brutal, inhumane, atrocious and mean indiscriminate mass murder” by preparing equipment for the gas attack and giving instructions to fellow cultists on how the plan should be carried out. Inoue also stands accused of murder and attempted murder by spraying deadly VX gas on Tadahito Hamaguchi, Noboru Mizuno and anti-Aum activist Hiroyuki Nagaoka in December 1994 and January 1995. Both Mizuno and Nagaoka were targeted because they were protecting former cult members. Hamaguchi, a follower who died as a result of the attack, was targeted because the cult suspected he was a spy from the Public Security Investigation Agency.
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