Japan cult member charged after years on run

AP News
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Posted: Jan 20, 2012 6:37 AM
Japan cult member charged after years on run

A senior member of the doomsday cult behind the 1995 nerve gas attack on Tokyo subways has been charged in a kidnapping case, one of dozens of cult-related crimes in the 1990s.

Tokyo prosecutors Friday indicted Makoto Hirata, a 46-year-old member of Aum Shinrikyo, for his role in the abduction and confinement of a follower's relative in 1995.

The victim later was slain and burned inside the cult's commune, but prosecutors said Hirata wasn't responsible in these.

Weeks later, Aum released sarin nerve gas in Tokyo's subways, killing 13 and injuring more than 6,000.

Hirata turned himself in to police on the New Year's eve and was arrested on the spot. His sudden reappearance after 17 years on the run has shocked Japan.