New Zealand police Tuesday filed a
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
The carnage shocked the population and prompted the
government to tighten the country's gun laws. It also sparked widespread
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.