Japan gas attack suspect held after 17 years

June 4th, 2012 - 10:41 pm ICT by IANS  

Tokyo, June 4 (IANS) A woman member of a Japanese doomsday cult responsible for a deadly nerve gas attack on the Tokyo subway in 1995 has been arrested after 17 years on the run, CNN reported.

Naoko Kikuchi, 40, a follower of the Aum Supreme Truth Cult, was arrested in Sagamihara, 40 km west of Tokyo.

During a rush-hour attack March 20 1995, cult members released sarin gas that led to the death of at least 13 people and rendered more than 5,500 commuters ill.

Kikuchi has admitted to helping make the gas that attacks the central nervous system, but said she was not aware how it would be used, police said.

She was arrested on suspicion of murder and attempted murder.

She was living in a small, shabby house made of rusted metal panels. A 41-year-old man was arrested for allegedly hiding the suspect.

Kikuchi was one of two remaining cult members wanted for their involvement in the attack.

Katsuya Takahashi, 54, is the only one still at large.

Another cult member, Makoto Hirata, wanted for the murder of an official, turned himself in on New Year’s Eve.

More than 200 members of the cult were convicted, and 13, including the cult’s blind guru Shoko Asahara, were sentenced to death. However, no one has been executed till now.

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