The Tokyo High Court said Friday it plans to have Aum Shinrikyo founder Shoko Asahara, who is appealing a death sentence, undergo a psychiatric examination to determine if he is competent to stand trial.
Presiding Judge Masaru Suda said the court decided not to approve requests from the defense counsel to suspend his trial until his mental condition improves and to extend the deadline for the submission of a document stating the reason for appeal beyond Aug. 31.
The high court had previously extended the deadline from the initial Jan. 11 to Aug. 31.
Suda said the court plans to test Asahara’s mental state because his counsel presented a written report by a psychiatric expert saying the guru lacks “litigation capacity” and because the death sentence makes it a critical case.
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