New Zealand, 27 August: A New Zealand court has sentenced a man who shot dead 51 people at two mosques to life in prison without parole.
Australian Brenton Tarrant, 29, pleaded guilty to the murder of 51 people, attempted murder of another 40 people and one charge of terrorism. During the sentencing he was confronted by survivors and relatives of victims.
The gun attacks at the two mosques sent shockwaves around the world. In the wake of the killings, New Zealand brought in stricter gun laws.
What happened during the sentencing ? The sentencing hearing lasted four days and more than 60 victim impact statements were heard. On the last day of statements, Koranic verses were read out and photos of loved ones were shown to the court.
Maysoon Salama, whose son died in the attack, said Tarrant “terrorised the whole of New Zealand and saddened the world”.
Sara Qasem, whose father Abdelfattah Qasem died at the Al Noor Mosque, said he was a “shining glimmering man”. She spoke about the last moments of her father’s life, saying: “I wonder if he was in pain, if he was frightened, and what his final thoughts were. And I wish more than anything in the world that I could have been there to hold his hand and tell him it would all be OK. But I couldn’t do that.”The gunman chose not to speak in court before Thursday’s sentencing.