New Zealand: Christchurch mosques’ terrorist sentenced to life without parole

27th Aug 2020
New Zealand: Christchurch mosques’ terrorist sentenced to life without parole

By Jeyhun Aliyev

 

(AA): A 29-year-old Australian white supremacist who killed 51 Muslim worshippers last year in New Zealand’s deadliest shooting has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole in the first such ruling ever handed down in the country, local media reported early Thursday.

The sentence was handed down to Brenton Tarrant by Christchurch High Court Justice Cameron Mander, according to the New Zealand Herald.

The verdict was announced after at least 91 “impact statements” were made by victims and their kin until today.

During the four-day sentencing hearing, 90 survivors and family members recounted the horror of the attacks and the trauma they continue to feel.

Judge Cameron Mander said Tarrant’s “warped” ideology and “base hatred” led the Australian white supremacist to murder defenceless men, women and children last year in New Zealand’s worst terror attack.

“Your crimes are so wicked, that even if you are detained until you die it will not exhaust the requirements of punishment and denunciation,” Mander said.

“It was brutal and beyond callous,” the judge said

Mander said: “Your actions were inhuman. You deliberately killed a 3-year-old infant as he clung to the leg of his father.”

Gamal Fouda, the imam of Al Noor mosque — one of those targeted by Tarrant — said the sentence was what the Muslim community had hoped for.

“But no punishment is going to bring our loved ones back and our sadness will continue for the rest of our lives,” he said.

Tarrant had refused to make an oral submission before he was sentenced. He sacked his legal team last month and represented himself in court.

However, he instructed lawyer Pip Hall to speak on his behalf.

“Mr. Tarrant does not oppose the application. He should be sentenced to life in prison without parole,” Hall said.

Initially, Tarrant had pleaded not guilty, but later admitted to 51 charges of murder, 40 charges of attempted murder and a charge of committing a terrorist act under the Terrorism Suppression Act of 2002.

The sentencing of New Zealand’s “worst murderer” started Monday with Justice Mander appointed for the hearing.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern welcomed the court’s decision.

She also hailed the “strength” of the country’s Muslim community, who shared their thoughts in court during the hearings, adding that “nothing will take the pain away, but I hope you felt the arms of New Zealand around you throughout this process.”

Tarrant launched a one-man attack with automatic rifles at the Al Noor Mosque and Linwood Islamic Centre during Friday prayers on March 15, 2019.

Additional report by The Muslim News

[Photo: People paying tribute to victims of twin terror attacks in New Zealand. A woman is consoled at the botanic garden memorial, in Christchurch, New Zealand on March 19, 2019. Photographer: Peter Adones/AA]

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