# Re: The Dmitri Sigachev's Case: unlawful possession of weapons by former Russian member of Aum Shinrikyo

Some media reported a few days ago that Russian authorities arrested Dmitri Sigachev, a Russian and Aum Shinrikyo's former follower on suspicion of illegally possessing lethal weapons. In reference to this, we think it is our duty to present facts and elaborate what we think about it.

1) Aleph does not regard the suspect, Dmitri Sigachev as one of its members. There are a number of reasons to do so. The information gathered from Aum Shinrikyo's former Russian members who know Sigachev's activities well shows the facts as follow:

i) To Japanese authorities, Sigachev clearly expressed himself as not being an Aleph member.

ii) Sigachev was very likely to have a mindset to justify committing crimes and actually seemed to have committed crimes himself.

iii) Sigachev would not respect the idea that the former Aum Shinrikyo leader Shoko Asahara expressed during a hearing into whether the Antisubversive Activities Law should be applied to Aum Shinrikyo. And of course he would not obey any order by Aleph. Mr. Asahara's idea then was to call on all the Aum Shinrikyo members not to get involved in any unlawful activities including any attempt to rescue him out of jail. However, Sigachev acted on his own, saying that he would act according to the will of the god that he thought he was contacting. It was in reality nothing but Sigachev-ism, which has nothing to do with Aleph.

Besides, none of Aleph members have heard of Sigachev being enrolled in Aleph. These are the facts and these are reasons why Aleph regards Sigachev as none of its members.

2) Although Aleph does not regard Sigachev and his accomplices as its members, it will make it clear that it formally expels them on the ground that they have possessed unlawful weapons.

3) It should be noted, however, that Aleph made its utmost effort in persuading Sigachev. These efforts were threefold.

i) Aleph has been exchanging information with former Russian members of Aum Shinrikyo who know Sigachev's activities well. Aleph also tried many times to persuade him into giving up his crime-approving mindset by sending him e-mails either directly or indirectly, and by even sending some of its members to the third country where they met and talked with him. During the course of its efforts, Aleph went as far as to get a signed memorandum from him. In the memorandum, Sigachev says, "I understands that Aleph denies any unlawful activities, and accordingly I will never get involved in any unlawful activities at all."

(During the course of the negotiations, Aleph was not able to confirm whether Sigachev was planning to rescue Mr. Asahara held in custody by the police. The charge brought against him was unlawful possession of arms, but not attempted terrorism. Moreover, he was not yet indicted. Aleph therefore decided to leave the case to Russian authorities.)

ii) Then Aleph obtained at hand the information from former Russian members of Aum Shinrikyo that Sigachev is entering Japan in June, 2000. Aleph, without delay, informed the MPD's Public Safety Department and the Immigration Bureau that a former member, who might conduct unlawful activities, is entering Japan and proposed that they keep him out of Japan.

iii) In early July, an Aum Shinrikyo's former Russian member, who got a grip on the tangible evidence of Sigachev's unlawful conducts, informed Russian authorities and let them arrest him and his accomplices.

4) Financial Sources of Dmitri Sigachev

i) Aleph did not help Sigachev purchase the arms.

ii) There is a possibility, however, that part of private investment which belonged to a former high-profile member of Aum Shinrikyo was embezzled for Sigachev's arms purchase. Aleph requested the former member to file a lawsuit against Sigachev on a charge of embezzlement if this is the case.

iii) In order to eliminate the slightest possibility of similar things happening in the future, Aleph is going to ban its members from engaging any form of cooperation with former Russian members of Aum Shinrikyo in financial activities, irrespective of its kind; private or public.

5) Aleph considers that Dmitri Sigachev is the only exceptional case and no other former Russian members of Aum Shinrikyo have such mindsets as his. In Russia, as former members of Aum Shinrikyo are split and scattered in small groups, they cannot be controlled or instructed as one entity. So, through private relationship, Aleph is providing them with advice and instructions concerning its basic policy, that is:

i) Complete denial of conducting unlawful activities,
ii) Disposition of Mr. Shoko Asahara as leader,

6) Aleph has reported the Sigachev's case to the Public Security Investigation Agency.

7) On any unlawful activity detected, Aleph is going to report it to authorities without delay.

Last, but not least, we would like to express our deepest gratitude to those who helped us settle this case, both former Russian members of Aum Shinrikyo and Russian authorities. We at the same time request the press to deal with the case with due calmness and fairness.