Accessibility links

Breaking News

Russia's High Court Bans Japanese Doomsday Cult Group

The Russian Supreme Court has branded the Japanese doomsday cult group Aum Shinrikyo a terrorist organization.

The Moscow court banned the infamous group on September 20.

Aum Shinrikyo was founded by Shoko Asahara in 1984. It was banned in many countries after its members carried out a deadly sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway in 1995.

Asahara and 12 followers have been sentenced to death for the attack and a string of other crimes, including murder.

In the early 1990s, Asahara visited Russia and was greeted in Moscow as a VIP guest.

He met with Moscow officials, Russian political and religious figures, and conducted a series of lectures at Moscow's leading universities.

The sect advertised heavily across Russia in the years before the sarin attack, with Asahara paying nearly $1 million for a daily one-hour radio program and 30-minute television program propagating the cult's teachings in Russia.

His sect was officially registered at Russia's Justice Ministry at the time.

In March, Montenegro deported 43 Russian citizens suspected of being members of Aum Shinrikyo, to Russia.

Based on reporting by Rapsinews and TASS

RFE/RL has been declared an "undesirable organization" by the Russian government.

If you are in Russia and hold a Russian passport or are a stateless person residing permanently in Russia, please note that you could face fines or imprisonment for sharing, liking, commenting on, or saving our content, or for contacting us.

To find out more, click here.