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UN human rights agency regrets Japan's executions of AUM members

Cult's founder and six others involved in 1995 sarin gas attack in Tokyo

Aum Shinrikyo founder Chizuo Matsumoto, known as Shoko Asahara, had been held at this detention center in Tokyo. (Photo by Tsuyoshi Tamehiro)

GENEVA (Kyodo) -- The Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights expressed regret Friday over Japan's executions of AUM Shinrikyo founder Shoko Asahara and six other former members of the cult, calling for a national debate on the death penalty.

"We regret that seven people were today executed in Japan," Ravina Shamdasani, spokeswoman for the U.N. human rights agency, told Kyodo News in a written statement, while extending its sympathy to the victims of crimes committed by AUM, including the 1995 sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway system.

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