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The Supreme Court on Friday upheld death sentences handed down by lower courts to two former Aum Shinrikyo cultists for their role in the 1995 sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway system that left 12 people dead and thousands sickened.

Supreme Court Justice Yukio Takeuchi rejected appeals for leniency filed by defense lawyers for Kenichi Hirose, 45, left photo, and Toru Toyoda, 41, both former senior members of Aum Shinrikyo.

The lawyers had argued that their clients were brainwashed by cult founder Chizuo Matsumoto and incapable of making sound judgments.

Toyoda and Hirose will be the seventh and eighth former Aum cultists to have their death sentences finalized, including Matsumoto, 54.

Five others are appealing their death sentences to the Supreme Court.(IHT/Asahi: November 7,2009)




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