Chronology of Aum developments

The following is a timeline of developments either involving or allegedly linked to Aum Shinrikyo founder Shoko Asahara.

February 1984 — Shoko Asahara forms Aum Shinsen no Kai.

July 1987 — Aum Shinsen no Kai is renamed Aum Shinrikyo.

Nov. 4, 1989 — Tsutsumi Sakamoto, a lawyer helping people with complaints against Aum, is slain along with his wife and 1-year-old son at their Yokohama home.

February 1990 — Asahara and 24 other Aum members run in a House of Representatives election. All of them lose.

June 27, 1994 — Aum members release sarin nerve gas in a residential district of Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture, killing seven people and seriously injuring four others.

March 20, 1995 — Aum members release sarin gas on Tokyo subway trains, killing 12 people and injuring more than 5,000.

May 16, 1995 — Asahara is arrested.

April 24, 1996 — Asahara’s trial begins.

April 24, 1997 — Asahara pleads not guilty to all charges except a VX nerve gas attack on a man.

Dec. 2, 1997 — Prosecutors reduce the number of injuries in the subway attack indictment to hasten court deliberations.

Dec. 27, 1999 — A law aimed at monitoring Aum goes into effect.

Jan. 18, 2000 — Aum admits Asahara’s involvement in the crimes for the first time. The cult renames itself Aleph.

Oct. 4, 2000 — Prosecutors drop indictments in four of 17 cases.

March 13, 2003 — Asahara refuses to speak in his first questioning in court.

March 27, 2003 — Asahara remains silent at his second questioning session.

April 10, 2003 — Asahara again declines to speak at his third questioning. Examination of evidence is concluded.

April 24, 2003 — Prosecutors demand the death sentence for Asahara.

Oct. 31, 2003 — Trial concludes; Asahara remains silent.

Feb. 27, 2004 — Asahara sentenced to death.

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