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Japan executes woman for exorcism killings
65-year-old Sachiko Eto was convicted for deaths that occurred after she and accomplices attempted to beat the demons out of six people
- Leon Watson
- September 28, 2012
The Justice Ministry said 65-year-old Sachiko Eto and 39-year-old Yukinori Matsuda were executed by hanging. Matsuda was convicted of killing two people during a robbery in 2003.
Eto turned to faith healing after she and her husband joined a cult, according to Japanese media reports.
She and two accomplices, including her daughter, were convicted of beating their victims to drive out â€śdemonsâ€ť and then 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 crimes. She pled not guilty, but a Japanese court upheld her sentence, ruling that her crimes were â€śexcessively grave.â€ť
Eto's daughter and another cult member were sentenced to life in prison for the 1995 murders.
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.
Amnesty International, whichÂ opposes the death penalty in all cases regardless of the nature of the crime,Â says the hangings have sparked fears of a new wave of executions.
Roseann Rife, Amnesty International's East Asia Director, said: â€śThe executions of Matsuda and Eto are acts of premeditated, cold-blooded killing by the Japanese state.â€ť
Full story: Cult leader becomes first woman to be executed in Japan for 15 years
Source: Daily Mail