• Kyodo

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A former member of the Aum Shinrikyo cult is appealing a Tokyo High Court decision in early March to uphold his nine-year prison sentence, court officials said Wednesday.

The appeal by Makoto Hirata, 49, who had been on the run for almost 17 years before turning himself in, was filed Tuesday with the Supreme Court.

He was found guilty in the abduction and confinement of a Tokyo notary clerk, the bombing of a Tokyo condominium and the firebombing of an Aum facility in 1995, shortly before the cult’s sarin nerve gas attack on the Tokyo subway system.

Hirata’s lawyers have argued that another cultist convicted of largely the same crimes received a shorter prison term. They also claim he was not aware of the abduction and bombing plans beforehand.

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