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Canada: Quebec mosque shooter could serve life in prison

20th Jun 2018
Canada: Quebec mosque shooter could serve life in prison

By Barry Ellsworth

 

TRENTON, Canada (AA): Alexandre Bissonnette, who murdered six people at a Quebec City mosque last year, should spend the rest of his life in prison, the prosecution said Tuesday.

Thomas Jacques told Justice Francois Huot that the 28-year-old should be sentenced to 150 years, 25 years for each victim in a shooting spree at the mosque on Jan. 29, 2017.

“This unprecedented crime merits a punishment that reflects its horrible implications,” Jacques said in a Quebec City courtroom.

It would be the longest sentence given since Canada did away with the death penalty in the 1960s.

Six men died after Bissonnette went on a shooting rampage inside the Quebec City mosque in January 2017, injuring five others. Thirty-five people, including four children, witnessed the shooting that evening.

The defense argued that Bissonnette’s sentences should be concurrent, meaning the 25-year sentences would be served together, and that he would spend 25 years in prison before he would be eligible for parole.

“The crimes committed by Alexandre Bissonnette are unprecedented,” said prosecutor Thomas Jacques, qualifying his behaviour as “base and repugnant,” and his actions as “unspeakable violence.”

Jacques said Bissonnette targeted his victims because of their religion, which should result in a tougher sentence.

“It was clearly motivated by hate,” he said, suggesting that should be considered an aggravating factor.

While Bissonnette was not charged with terrorism, Jacques said the impact of his crime on society was identical.

“It’s a black eye, a scar on our Canadian values,” he said.

In a statement Tuesday, the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) urged supporters to call for the sentencing to be consecutive, meaning 150 years in prison, effectively a death sentence.

“(W)hat it could do is set a strong precedent that violent acts of Islamophobia and other forms of anti-religious or racial hatred will be dealt with using the full force of the law,” NCCM executive director Ihsaan Gardee said in the statement. “It’s imperative our communities speak out to apply pressure in this regard.”

He asked supporters to write letters to the editors of their local newspapers to advocate for the 150-year sentence.

Gardee also called for signatures on a letter “urging the government to designate January 29th as a National Day of Remembrance and Action on Islamophobia”.

The judge is expected to make his decision known in September.

Additional report by The Muslim News

[Photo: Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the funeral prayers for Muslims killed in shooting at Quebec City Mosque on January 29, 2017/AA]

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