Photo/IllutrationEx-Aum Shinrikyo fugitive Naoko Kikuchi (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

The Supreme Court upheld a not guilty verdict for a former Aum Shinrikyo member who eluded police for 17 years following the cult’s deadly crime spree, including the 1995 nerve gas attack in Tokyo.

Naoko Kikuchi, 46, had been charged with aiding in an attempted murder in connection with a parcel bomb that seriously injured an official at the Tokyo metropolitan government building in May 1995.

Kikuchi had transported materials for the bomb, which was addressed to then Tokyo Governor Yukio Aoshima and exploded in a room for the governor’s aides.

But the Supreme Court on Dec. 25, dismissing an appeal by prosecutors, agreed with the Tokyo High Court’s conclusion that Kikuchi was unaware that the materials would be used to manufacture an explosive for a terror attack.

The top court also noted that her trial started about 19 years after the explosion, making it difficult to prove she was aware that her actions would contribute to the attack.

The Tokyo District Court in June 2014 sentenced Kikuchi to five years in prison, but the Tokyo High Court in November 2015 overturned the lower court ruling.

The faces of Kikuchi and other Aum Shinrikyo members appeared on wanted posters distributed around Japan from 1995.

In 2012, Kikuchi was arrested in Kanagawa Prefecture after someone recognized her.

The top court’s decision means that Katsuya Takahashi, 59, is the last person undergoing judicial proceedings over the cult’s series of murders and assaults that rocked Japan in the 1990s.

He was convicted of murder and other charges in five incidents, including the March 1995 attack in which cultists released sarin on subways in Tokyo during the morning rush hour. The nerve gas killed 13 people and sickened thousands.

The Tokyo District Court sentenced Takahashi to life in prison, a ruling upheld by the Tokyo High Court.

Takahashi, who was the final Aum fugitive captured by police, has appealed to the Supreme Court.

Death sentences have been finalized for 13 people for the cult’s crimes, including Aum Shinrikyo founder Chizuo Matsumoto, 62, who was better known as Shoko Asahara.