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New Zealand mosque assassin sentenced to life imprisonment without parole

By Suvan Bose

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On Thursday, New Zealand mosque shooter Brenton Tarrant was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the genocide of 51 Muslim worshippers, with a judge calling his action “inhuman” and “wicked”. For the first time in New Zealand, the sentence has been charged, as the judge charged the maximum available sentence on 29-year-old Australian shooter Brenton Harrison Tarrant. Judge Cameron Mander said Tarrant’s crimes were so vicious that lifetime in jail could not begin to redeem them. He said they had caused tremendous loss and hurt and evolved from a distort and lethal ideology.

The attack that happened in March 2019 were people praying at the Linwood and Al Noor mosques were targeted which shocked New Zealand and caused new laws banning the deadliest types of semi-automatic weapons. They also caused global changes to social media protocols after the shooter live-streamed his attack on Facebook. Family members and 90 survivors recounted the horror of the attacks throughout the four-day sentencing hearing and the trauma they still continue to feel.

Some chose to shout at the shooter and give him the finger. Others called him a rat, a coward, a monster. Some sung verses from the Quran or preached him in Arabic. Some spoke gently to Tarrant, saying they forgave him. Earlier Tarrant had fired his lawyers and told the judge that he didn’t desire to speak at the hearing. A standby lawyer assigned by the court told the judge that Tarrant did not obstruct a sentence of life without parole.

In March Tarrant had pleaded guilty to 51 counts of murder, 40 counts of attempted murder and one count of terrorism, reversing his previous not guilty pleas. According to the Prosecutors, Tarrant had glided a drone over the Al Noor mosque and researched the layout as he thoroughly planned his attacks. He appeared with six guns including two AR-15s.

Noticeably Tarrant was slimmer in his sentencing hearing than when he was first arrested. He didn’t show the impudence, as he did at his first court appearance the day after the attacks when he made a hand gesture sometimes adopted by white chauvinists. Tarrant was dressed in a grey prison tracksuit and he showed little emotion during his sentencing. He watched the speakers, occasionally giving a small nod or covering his mouth as he chuckled at jokes, often made at his expense.

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