Japan hangs cult leader responsible for 6 murders
By Associated Press - TOKYO
27th September 2012 12:08 PM
Japan on Thursday executed a robber who killed two people and a cult leader blamed for six murders during what she and her followers said were exorcisms.
The Justice Ministry said 65-year-old Sachiko Eto and 39-year-old Yukinori Matsuda were executed by hanging.
Eto was convicted of beating her victims and hiding their bodies at her home. During her trial, Eto's lawyers argued she had diminished responsibility as she was suffering mental problems at the time of the crime.
Eto's daughter and another cult member were sentenced to life in prison for the 1995 murders.
Matsuda was convicted of killing two people during a robbery in 2003.
Japan is one of the few industrialized countries that have capital punishment. The lack of transparency in the system has been criticized by human rights groups, but capital punishment is generally supported by the public, according to opinion polls.
Japan had no executions in 2011 but has conducted seven this year. The Justice Ministry says 131 convicts are on Japan's death row.
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