News World Police file NZ's first terrorism charge over mosque shootings

Police file NZ’s first terrorism charge over mosque shootings

New Zealand police have charged the man accused of murder in shootings at two Christchurch mosques in March with engaging in a terrorist act, the first time such a charge had been brought in the country’s history, they said on Tuesday.

In an attack broadcast live on Facebook, a lone gunman armed with semi-automatic weapons targeted Muslims attending Friday prayers on March 15, killing 51 worshippers and wounding dozens of people.

Tuesday’s charge under terrorism suppression legislation was filed against Brenton Tarrant, police said.

“The charge will allege that a terrorist act was carried out in Christchurch,” Commissioner of Police Mike Bush said in a statement.

The charge was the first under New Zealand’s terrorism suppression legislation, introduced in 2002, after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the United States.

An additional charge of murder and two more charges of attempted murder have also been filed against Tarrant, so that the suspected white supremacist faces a total of 51 charges of murder and 40 of attempted murder.

Tarrant’s lawyer did not immediately respond to a request from Reuters for comment.

Legal experts said any conviction for engaging in terrorism would not make much practical difference, given murder charges attract a higher maximum penalty, but were likely added to reflect the traumatic impact on those beyond the named victims.

“The terrorism act charge is about recognising the harm to the community and the harmed individuals who were present but who weren’t physically injured or killed,” Graeme Edgeler, a barrister and legal commentator.

Tarrant is next due to appear in court on June 14, after being remanded in custody in April and ordered to undergo psychiatric assessment to determine if he was fit to stand trial.

Police notified roughly 200 family members of attack victims and survivors about the additional charges at a meeting on Tuesday, police said.

Mohamed Hussein Mostafa, whose father was killed at Al Noor Mosque, said he was glad the event was being treated as a terrorist act, especially given the Muslim community had been often been “vilified” by media and politicians as possible perpetrators of violence since the 9/11 attacks.

“It will cement in people’s minds that terrorism has no race or religion,” he told Reuters in a Whatsapp message. “I’m happy that he will be made an example of … so that such an atrocity may never happen again on our shores.”

(Reuters)

Top Stories

T/Cypriot police shoot, injure two irregular migrants

    Turkish Cypriot police shot and injured two irregular migrants who tried to avoid arrest, the online edition of the Turkish Cypriot newspaper Yeniduzen reports. It...

Turkish verdict paving way for Hagia Sophia mosque expected Friday – officials

    A Turkish court is likely to announce on Friday that the 1934 conversion of Istanbul's Hagia Sophia into a museum was unlawful, two Turkish...

More credit card use for small purchases amid pandemic

  Kiosks and newsagents saw a 103% increase in credit card transactions, while travel related business recorded a 91% decrease in the quarter ending June...

Tried and Tasted: Bistro 961

The wonderful, aromatic flavours of the Middle East are an eternally welcome guest in my stomach. So when I found out that a sweet...

Multinational aeronautical exercise off Cyprus (photos, video)

    A multinational aeronautical exercise was carried out south of Limassol on Wednesday with the participation of four countries -- Cyprus, Greece, France and Italy,...

Taste

How to make triandafillo ice cream, by UK Cypriot chef Loulla Astin

  Just in time for the scorching heat, UK Cypriot chef Loulla Astin has shared her recipe for refreshing triantafillo ice cream -- or as...

Cyprus sprouts with cream and prosciutto

In a big, deep frying pan, fry the prosciutto in the olive oil, on medium heat for 2 minutes. Add the onion and garlic...

Pork burger with sundried tomatoes, mozzarella and anchovies

Mix all the ingredients together with the mince in a bowl, and combine well. Divide into 4 balls and form the burgers. Warm a griddle/pan...

Sheftalies

Wash the lamb cauls with plenty of cold water and let them settle in water and vinegar for a little while. Soak the bread crumbs...