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Christchurch mosques attacker charged with terrorism

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Message Abdus-Sattar Ghazali
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New Zealand police Tuesday filed a terrorism charge against white supremacist Brenton Tarrant accused with killing 51 worshippers in attacks on two Christchurch mosques in March 2019.

The offense carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. It's a test case for New Zealand's terror law, which was enacted in 2002 following the 9/11 terror attacks in the United States.

It is the first time a person has been charged in New Zealand with an act of terror under this law.

Tarrant is already facing charges of murder and 40 of attempted murder following the attack on two mosques in the South Island city on 15 March.

He is currently being held in a high-security prison and has been ordered to undergo psychiatric assessment. His next court appearance is scheduled for June 14.

Interestingly, a judge had earlier ordered that the 28-year-old's face not be shown.

The March 15 attacks on the Al Noor and Linwood mosques in Christchurch were the worst shootings in New Zealand's history.

The self-proclaimed white supremacist - who allegedly outlined his intentions in a rambling and expletive-filled document online before carrying out the attack - has not yet been asked to enter a plea to the charges.

The carnage shocked the population and prompted the government to tighten the country's gun laws. It also sparked widespread criticism of social-media platforms, which allowed the lone gunman to livestream the massacre.

According to BBC, proving in court that the accused was engaged in an act of terror will require examining motivation, not just intention, and that creates the possibility of any trial becoming a platform to air extremist views, something many in Christchurch want to avoid. This may be why the police spent weeks considering the option, and consulted the families of the victims before announcing the charge.

Christchurch shooter has links with European far-right groups

The Christchurch Mosque shooter reportedly sent funds to a far-right French group before sending a "donation" to Austria. The Austrian far-right have recently come under scrutiny for their links to the shooter.

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Abdus-Sattar Ghazali Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Author and journalist. Author of Islamic Pakistan: Illusions & Reality; Islam in the Post-Cold War Era; Islam & Modernism; Islam & Muslims in the Post-9/11 America. Currently working as free lance journalist. Executive Editor of American (more...)
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