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29-year-old white supremacist Brenton Tarrant will be the first inmate in New Zealand to resort to such a sentence that has never been handed down in the country’s history.

After committing an attack costing the lives of 51 faithful Muslims in two mosques in Christchurch, Brenton Tarrant pleaded guilty last March, after having denied the facts in court for a year. The Australian was therefore sentenced for these assassinations as well as for 40 attempted murder and commission of a terrorist act.

For Prosecutor Mark Zarifeh, life imprisonment was “the only appropriate sentence” for Mr. Tarrant. He adds that “the offense was motivated by a deeply rooted racist and xenophobic ideology (…) He is clearly the worst murderer that New Zealand has known”.

Judge Cameron Mander said Thursday August 27 in Christchurch High Court, sentencing Brenton Tarrant to spend his entire life behind bars, that “You have committed inhumane acts. You showed no mercy. You are not only a murderer, but a terrorist ”.

Questioned by a psychiatrist and a psychologist during his incarceration, Brenton Tarrant initially showed no sign of regret. Then he changed his attitude, claiming that he felt ostracized at the time, that he was in a “toxic emotional state” and wanted to harm society with an act of revenge.

Justice New Zealanders Desire

At the end of the four days of hearing, Judge Cameron Mander pointed out that behind the “twisted” ideology of this “evil” and “inhuman” man hid a “deep hatred” which led him to attack defenseless men, women and children.

He asserted, when giving the sentence, that “your crimes are so cruel that even if you are detained until your death, it will not meet the need for sanctions.”

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern immediately reacted, wishing her a life of “total and absolute silence”. “I hope this is the last time we have to hear or pronounce the name of the terrorist,” she added.
Imam of Al-Nour Mosque, Gamal Fouda, one of the places of worship where the attack took place, quoted that “This is the justice we were hoping for”.

Relief for the victims

After the pronouncement of the verdict, several victims rejoiced at the news. It more or less eased their pain. Victims will get nothing more from Brenton Tarrant, but when they left court, most said they were relieved by the sentence.

Indeed, 91 victims came to testify at the request of the court. The latter have chosen to speak directly to the “monster” who has made their life a field of ruins.

“Your cruelty and hatred did not have the desired results. On the contrary, they united our community of Christchurch, strengthened our faith (…) and united our peaceful nation ”, launched Thursday, August 26, Aden Diriye, father of little Mucaad Ibrahim, 3 years old, shot before his eyes.

Sara Qasem, who lost her father, a computer scientist of Palestinian origin, let her anger explode, her gaze fixed on the killer’s eyes, expressing that “all this should not have happened.” You made a choice. A choice of cold blood. A conscious, stupid, irresponsible, selfish, abominable, odious, diabolical choice ”.

“Today you are the terrorist. You took this name off the shoulders of Muslims, ”added Mirwais Waziri, an Afghan refugee.

A massacre that strengthened the law

Tarrant is expected to be kept in solitary confinement in New Zealand’s only high security prison in Auckland.

The Australian had arrived in New Zealand in 2017, spending many hours on the online forums at his home in the city of Dunedin where he had stored weapons in preparation for the killings he had planned in Christchurch.

Recall that this killing led the government to toughen the law on weapons and step up its efforts to fight extremism on the Internet.


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