• Kyodo


Prosecutors appealed Wednesday a high court ruling that found a female former member of Aum Shinrikyo and ex-fugitive not guilty of a 1995 parcel bombing at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government building.

The Tokyo High Public Prosecutors Office filed the case involving Naoko Kikuchi to the Supreme Court.

In June last year, the Tokyo District Court sentenced Kikuchi to five years in prison for abetting attempted murder, finding she was aware of the possibility the chemical she took to the cult’s hideout would be used to kill or harm people.

But the Tokyo High Court overturned the decision on Nov. 27, saying the accounts given by a senior cult member that served as the basis of the ruling “cannot be trusted.”

Her lawyers argued that Kikuchi did not know the chemicals would be used to attack people throughout the hearings.

In May 1995, Aum members sent a parcel containing a bomb made with the chemicals to the metropolitan government head office, leaving a Tokyo government official seriously wounded from the explosion.

The bombing was aimed at disrupting a police investigation into the cult and preventing the arrest of Aum founder Shoko Asahara, whose real name is Chizuo Matsumoto.

Kikuchi was arrested in June 2012 after 17 years on the run.

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