A New Zealand judge sentenced white supremacist Brenton Tarrant to life in prison without parole on Thursday. He was punished for killing 51 Muslim worshippers in the country’s deadliest shooting. The judge said the sentence was not enough punishment for the “wicked” crimes.
It was the first time a court in New Zealand had sentenced a person to prison for the rest of their life, said Reuters.
Christchurch High Court Judge Cameron Mander said Tarrant had shown no remorse.
“Your crimes…are so wicked that even if you are detained until you die it will not exhaust the requirements of punishment and denunciation,” said the judge.
“As far as I am able to gauge, you are empty of any empathy for your victims,” he said.
Tarrant, a 29-year-old Australian, admitted to 51 charges of murder and 40 counts of attempted murder. He also has one charge of committing a terrorist act. In 2019, he attacked two Christchurch mosques which he live-streamed on Facebook.
On March 15, 2019, Tarrant stormed the Al Noor mosque in Christchurch armed with military-style semi-automatics, indiscriminately shooting at Muslims gathered for Friday prayers. He filed the massacre from a head-mounted camera.
He killed 44 people at Al Noor. Then he attacked a second mosque in the nearby suburb of Linwood, killing another seven people.
NZ Muslims welcome justice
“Today the legal procedures for this heinous crime have been done. No punishment will bring our loved ones back,” said Gamal Fouda, the imam of Al Noor mosque.
“Extremists are all the same. Whether they use religion, nationalism or any other ideology. All extremists, they represent hate. But we are here today. We respect love, compassion, Muslim and non-Muslim people of faith and of no faith.”
Tarrant had accumulated more than 7,000 rounds of ammunition for the attack. He wanted to instill fear in those he described as invaders.
“The hatred that lies at the heart of your hostility to particular members of the community that you came to this country to murder has no place here – it has no place anywhere,” Mander said.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she was relieved that “that person will never see the light of day”.
“The trauma of March 15 is not easily healed but today I hope is the last where we have any cause to hear or utter the name of the terrorist behind it. His deserves to be a lifetime of complete and utter silence,” she said.
The attack led to a ban on firearms in New Zealand and a campaign against hate content online led by Ardern, a response that was hailed as a model for other countries.
More than 90 survivors and grieving families of the victims gave emotionally charged statements in court this week calling for Tarrant to be sentenced to life without parole. Many gathered in and outside the court on Thursday to hear the sentence. Allah is the most just, indeed.
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