# 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
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
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
7) On any unlawful activity detected, Aleph is going to report it to authorities
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.