Lawyers for Shoko Asahara, founder of the Aum Shinrikyo religious cult, released portions of a psychiatrist’s report Monday stating that Asahara is unable to stand trial because of his confused state of mind.The report of Masaaki Noda, a professor at Kwansei Gakuin University, will be submitted to the Tokyo High Court, the lawyers said.
Asahara, 50, who has been sentenced to death and whose real name is Chizuo Matsumoto, is in the midst of an appeal.
Based on the report, the lawyers will ask the high court to suspend the appellate trial. Asahara has been found guilty on 13 counts, including the 1995 sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway system.
“If competency to stand trial is defined as understanding the meaning of the trial and the ability to defend oneself, then (Asahara) should be deemed lacking in such competency,” Noda said in the report.
He also stated in the report that Asahara’s symptoms may improve in about six months if he is given immediate psychological treatment and that reopening the trial after his recovery would be more practical than arguing over whether he is pretending to be ill or is actually confused.
Three of the four psychiatrists, including Noda, who have interviewed Asahara have expressed doubts about his competency to stand trial. Another is drafting a report stating that Asahara is suffering from a mental disorder caused by his long stay in prison.
I’m currently in the midst of a job translating some Aum related documents into English so I know something about this Mr. Asahara. You’d think that someone who was supposedly such a master meditation guru would be able to cope with a prison stay. I mean, one of the training techniques he used on his followers was making them meditate for periods of time in an isolation cell! Didn’t he ever practice that one himself? Or maybe the fact that the prison isn’t feeding him the “Aum diet” of vegetables and natto is wreaking havoc with his charkas and inhibiting the flow of Kundalini energies. How could he possibly be expected to remain sane with his Kundalini energies locked down like that?
Or maybe it’s just the aftereffects of a little too much second-hand smoke from the sarin factory.