Christchurch mosque killer unmoved by tale of carnage

White supremacist Brenton Tarrant, who murdered 51 faithful Muslims in 2019 in New Zealand, remained unmoved on Monday, August 24 when survivors and the prosecutor returned to the hearing over the long minutes of horror at two Christchurch mosques.

The trial of the 29-year-old Australian, who was convicted of 51 murders and 40 attempted murders and one count of terrorism, entered its home stretch on Monday. Christchurch court is expected to announce the sentence on Thursday.

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While the killer had attended by videoconference, in his high security prison in Auckland, the previous hearings, he was present in court on Monday. This was the first time he had been confronted with survivors and families since the attacks of March 15, 2019.

That day, Abdiaziz Ali Jama, a 44-year-old Somali refugee, saw her brother-in-law Muse Awale being killed in front of her eyes. “I see the images and I still hear the rata-rata-rata of the weapon in my head”, Ms. Jama told the court.

Maysoon Salama, mother of a killing victim, and her family on August 24 in Christchurch courthouse.

Three year old child

Dressed in his gray inmate uniform, and flanked by three police officers in the cubicle, Brenton Tarrant remained silent and unmoved, occasionally raising his head to look at the audience.

Prosecutor Barnaby Hawes gave a chilling account of the facts, explaining that the accused “Would have liked to kill more people”. He recounted how the Australian had that day methodically slaughtered women, children and men, while filming the killings and televising it live on social media, how he ignored pleas for pity from some victims, how he had run over a body while going from one mosque to another.

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When he saw a three-year-old clinging to his father’s leg, Mr. Tarrant executed him “Of two balls placed with precision”, a dit M. Hawes.

Several jurists believe the Australian will be the first in New Zealand to be sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. Tarrant, who had pleaded guilty, was arrested as he hoped to reach Ashburton, an hour south of Christchurch, to attack a third mosque there.

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“He admitted to the police having gone to mosques in order to kill as many people as possible”, a dit M. Hawes. “During the hearings, (…) he explained that the attacks were motivated by his ideological convictions and that he hoped to sow fear among those he describes as ‘invaders’, in particular the Muslim population and all non-immigrants. -europeans. “

Gamal Fouda, imam of Christchurch’s al-Nour mosque, said he had that day “Saw hatred in the eyes of a fanatic terrorist”. “Your hate is not necessary”, he said to the Australian.

Brenton Tarrant arrived in New Zealand in 2017, the prosecutor said. He lived in Dunedin, 360 km south of Christchurch, where he had assembled an entire arsenal and purchased over 7,000 ammunition.

Two months before the attacks, he had traveled to Christchurch to locate the scene. He had flown a drone over the Al-Nour Mosque, filming the building, its entrances and exits, and taken detailed notes on the journey to Linwood Mosque.

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He wanted to burn the mosques

On March 15, 2019, he drove from Dunedin to Christchurch equipped with multiple semi-automatic weapons on which he had inscribed various symbols as well as references to the Crusades and recent terrorist attacks. He had spare magazines full of ammunition as well as jerry cans “To set the mosques on fire”, said Mr. Hawes. “He said he regretted not having done it”.

A few minutes before taking action, he had sent his “Manifest” 74 pages on an extremist site, warned his family of what he was about to do and sent emails containing threats against mosques to several editorial staff. Mr. Tarrant chose to defend himself without a lawyer.

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For his part, Judge Cameron Mander imposed drastic restrictions on media coverage of the proceedings to prevent the accused from using his trial as a platform to spread his hate messages.

The magistrate notably indicates to the media, which are not authorized to report live the content of the hearings, what they can or not report.

This killing led the government to toughen the gun law and step up its efforts to fight extremism on the internet.

The World with AFP

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