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New Zealand mosque attack terrorist jailed for life with no parole

New Zealand's High Court sentenced the Australian white supremacist who admitted to killing 51 people in two Christchurch mosques to life in prison with no parole, per RNZ.

Why it matters: Brenton Tarrant, 29, is the first person in New Zealand to receive the sentence. The 2019 attack is considered the worst in the country's history and one of the world's worst shootings by a single gunman. Dozens of survivors faced him in court to give victim impact statements this week.


"You terrorized the whole of New Zealand and saddened the world. You killed your own humanity and I don't think the world will forgive you for your horrible crime against humanity."
remarks from Maysoon Salama, whose only son died in the attack

The big picture: Tarrant pleaded guilty in March and was convicted of 51 counts of murder, 40 counts of attempted murder and one charge of terrorism after changing his plea.

  • New Zealand banned military-style semi-automatic weapons and assault rifles in response to the March 15, 2019, massacre at the Al Noor Mosque and the Linwood Islamic Centre.
  • The attack prompted Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to lead an international campaign that resulted in the Christchurch Call, an initiative to reduce violent extremist content online that was launched by governments and tech companies.

Of note: The prosecution told the court on Monday that Tarrant intended to "burn the mosques down" and planned a third mosque attack.

The mother of one victim told him: "You gave yourself the authority to take the souls of 51 innocent people. Their only crime in your eyes was being Muslim," per RNZ.

  • Tarrant's sentencing lasted four days to enable survivors and victims' families to speak to the impact of his actions.
  • The court banned live reporting to avoid Tarrant from using the hearing to spread hate and to minimize the re-traumatization of victims and their families.
  • Some victims' families and survivors were exempted from New Zealand's coronavirus border ban on nonresidents to attend the hearing after spending 14 days in managed quarantine facilities.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

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