The Tokyo High Court on Wednesday upheld an Aum Shinrikyo member’s 10-year prison sentence for crimes that include the murder of a fellow member.
The ruling on Shinichi Koshikawa wraps up high court judgments on crimes by Aum members who were handed fixed prison terms at the lower court level.
Koshikawa, 39, became a live-in follower of Aum around 1988 and was one of its senior officials in charge of commerce.
He was found guilty March 25, 2002, by the Tokyo District Court of murdering Kotaro Ochida, threatening a fellow cultist who attempted to leave the group and interfering in the duties of a public official.
Tokyo High Court Judge Koshi Murakami said Wednesday that Koshikawa played a major role in the murder of the 29-year-old Ochida.
Murakami conspired with Aum founder Shoko Asahara and other senior cultists to carry out the leader’s proposal to kill Ochida, and “actively participated in the murder,” the judge said.
On Friday, the Tokyo District Court found Asahara, whose real name is Chizuo Matsumoto, guilty of ordering his followers to commit a string of crimes that resulted in the deaths of 27 people, including the 1995 sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway.
Koshikawa denied all three charges against him. But Murakami said testimony by people on trial for Aum crimes that implicated him was trustworthy.
Koshikawa conspired with others and strangled Ochida when he entered an Aum facility in Kamikuishiki, Yamanashi Prefecture, to rescue an ill female member Jan. 30, 1994.