Brenton Tarrant, a 29-year-old white supremacist was sentenced to a lifetime of imprisonment with non-parole by a New Zealand judge on Thursday. Tarrant has a history of pursuing “wicked” crimes, including the deadliest shooting that the country has ever seen.

The Australian man, who is the first in the history of NZ to have been ordered life imprisonment, admitted to 51 charges of murder, 40 counts of attempted murder and one charge of committing a terrorist act during a deadly 2019 shooting rampage at two Christchurch mosques – Al Noor and another place of Islamic worship in the nearby suburb of Linwood – on March 15. Tarrant reportedly live-streamed the massacre on Facebook.

“Your crimes...are so wicked that even if you are detained until you die it will not exhaust the requirements of punishment and denunciation,” said judge Mander in handing down the sentence. “As far as I am able to gauge, you are empty of any empathy for your victims,” he added. Tarrant showed no remorse and simply failed to respond even as the Judge asked him if he was aware that he could make submissions just before he handed down the sentence. As per the statements by prosecutors, Tarrant had planned the ghastly attack to instill fear among those he perceived to be “invaders,” and aimed to cause maximum carnage.

The verdict felt like a sigh of relief for Muslims in the country, who expressed their support for the judge. “It’s a relief...We are not in a country where we can expect the death penalty. But they have served the maximum prison time without parole,” said Hina Amir, 34, who was outside Al Noor mosque when Tarrant attacked managed to escape death by surviving a series of bullets in her car with her husband, Amir Daud.

“Today the legal procedures for this heinous crime have been done. No punishment will bring our loved ones back,” said Gamal Fouda, the imam of Al Noor mosque which was targeted. “Extremists are all the same. Whether they use religion, nationalism, or any other ideology. All extremists, they represent hate.

But we are here today. We respect love, compassion, Muslim and non-Muslim people of faith and of no faith,” added Fouda. While Tarrant maintained a stoic silence all through the hearing, it is believed that what led to the ghastly incident was deep-seating feels of being ostracised and confessed to having acted upon delusional beliefs.

Tarrant refused to accept that he was racist but state prosecutor Mark Zarifeh stated otherwise to the court: “The offending was motivated by an entrenched racist and xenophobic ideology and a desire to create terror within the Muslim community and beyond,” he added.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern expressed her relief upon learning that the person would never see the light of day.

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