Aum Shinrikyo founder Shoko Asahara’s defense counsel said it filed a second request Friday with the Tokyo High Court to suspend the cult guru’s appeals trial until his mental state improves.
The counsel also asked the court to extend the Aug. 31 deadline for the submission of a document stating the reason for the appeal, noting they have been unable to gain a sense of coherent communication with their client.
The Tokyo District Court on Feb. 27, 200, sentenced Asahara, 50, to death, and the sentence will become final if the deadline is missed.
The high court had previously extended the deadline from Jan. 11 to Aug. 31.
The counsel first requested the suspension in October but the court rejected the request in January.
The counsel said that the defendant is not in a mental state capable of continuing to face the trial. The trial should proceed when his mental condition has improved, as a psychiatric evaluation has showed he can recover from it, according to the defense counsel.
Asahara, whose real name is Chizuo Matsumoto, was sentenced to death by the district court for his role in 13 criminal cases, including ordering the deadly sarin attack on Tokyo’s subway system in 1995. His defense team has appealed the ruling.
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