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Christchurch gunman sentenced to life

By JONATHAN POWELL in London | China Daily Global | Updated: 2020-08-28 09:30

Survivors arrive for the sentencing of Brenton Tarrant at the High Court in Christchurch, New Zealand, August 27, 2020. [Photo/Agencies]

A white supremacist who killed 51 Muslim worshippers in New Zealand's deadliest shooting was sentenced to life in prison without parole on Thursday.

It is the first time in the country's history that a person has been given a sentence of life without the possibility of parole.

Christchurch High Court Judge Cameron Mander said the sentence was not enough punishment for the "wicked" crimes, news agencies reported.

On delivering the decision to Australian Brenton Tarrant, 29, who admitted to the murder of 51 people, attempted murder of another 40 people and one charge of terrorism, the judge said Tarrant had shown no remorse.

On handing down the sentence, Mander said: "Your crimes are so wicked that even if you are detained until you die, it will not exhaust the requirements of punishment."

Mander added that such life sentences without parole were reserved only for the "very worst murders".New Zealand does not have the death penalty as part of its justice system.

Sky News reported that Justice Mander read the names of every victim, both the injured and the dead, telling Tarrant about the lives he destroyed or cut short. "You showed no mercy. It was brutal and beyond callous-your actions were inhumane," Mander told Tarrant.

"Their loss is unbearable," he said, of one family. In remarks about another victim, he said: "Your actions have destroyed that family as they have so many other families.

"As far as I am able to gauge you are empty of any empathy to your victims," Mander added. "You have said you were in a poisoned emotional state at the time, and terribly unhappy. You felt ostracized by society and wanted to damage society as revenge."

Brenton Tarrant, the gunman who shot and killed worshippers in the Christchurch mosque attacks, is seen during his sentencing at the High Court in Christchurch, New Zealand, August 26, 2020. [Photo/Agencies]

On hearing of Tarrant's sentencing New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said it meant he would have "no notoriety, no platform... and we have no cause to think about him, to see him or to hear from him again".

"Today I hope is the last where we have any cause to hear or utter the name of the terrorist," she said.

The attack led to a ban on firearms in New Zealand and a campaign against hate content online.

The sentencing hearing began on Monday, with much of the first three days dedicated to victim impact statements.

The Guardian reported that Tarrant appeared mostly emotionless throughout, as almost 90 victims confronted him.

According to Reuters, Turkey's foreign ministry said it noted "with pleasure" that the heaviest available punishment had been applied for an attack that killed one and wounded two Turkish citizens.

"The verdict reminded the world once again the need for the international community to fight jointly against all acts and ideologies based on Islamophobia, xenophobia, racism and hatred."



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