Bärbel Kofler, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid at the Federal Foreign Office, issued the following statement today (6 July) on the execution of the death penalty against the leader and six members of the Aum sect in Japan:
On 6 July, the death sentences against the leader and six members of the Aum sect in Japan were carried out. The group was responsible for the poison gas attack on the Tokyo underground in 1995 which cost many lives and left thousands injured. To this day, more than twenty years later, many people are still suffering from the consequences of the terrorist attack. On this day, our thoughts are with the many victims of this horrendous act and their families. Their immeasurable suffering will never be forgotten.
Despite the severity of the deed, the Federal Government stands by its fundamental rejection of the death penalty as an inhuman and cruel form of punishment. Together with our European partners, we therefore advocate the abolition of the death penalty worldwide.
We have a long-standing and intensive friendship with Japan. There are deep bonds between our countries based on shared values such as the rule of law, democracy and the protection of human rights. Precisely for this reason it is very important to me to address differences of opinion openly. We hope we will be able to further intensify our dialogue on ending the death penalty with our most important partner with shared values in East Asia.