Asahara showing signs of madness
TANYA CLARK in Tokyo
After months of silence the doomsday cult leader on trial for the Tokyo subway gas attack believes he is going mad, reports said yesterday.
Shoko Asahara was temporarily transferred to a padded cell last week after he began shouting and beating on the walls and door of his cell, the reports said.
Asahara reportedly told prison guards: 'I'm going mad.' The outburst is said to have happened when Asahara was returned to his cell after a dramatic court hearing last Friday.
Asahara reportedly burst into the proceedings, shouting: 'I will shoulder everything in this case.' The guru then demanded that the cross-examination of Yoshihiro Inoue, a member of the Aum Shinri Kyo cult on trial for the subway attack and other crimes, be stopped.
After the presiding judge dismissed his demand, Asahara shouted: 'If you force his cross-examination, all of you will die.' In response to a question later that day from one of his court-appointed lawyers, Asahara said a 'divine revelation' had come to him that morning.
During the afternoon's proceedings Asahara began to frown and shake, and he called out to Inoue.
The media reports said that on being returned to his cell that evening Asahara began shouting at the top of his voice and banging his fists against the walls and door of his cell.
Court or police officials have yet to confirm reports of Asahara's behaviour at the Tokyo Detention Centre.
Asahara has apparently been returned to his cell.