New Zealand mosque gunman files appeal against life sentence

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The self-proclaimed white supremacist pleaded guilty to murder and attempted murder in 2020 and was given a whole-life term.

A self-proclaimed white supremacist who killed 51 Muslim worshippers at two Christchurch mosques in March 2019 has filed an appeal against his conviction and whole-life sentence.

No date for the hearing has been set, a spokesperson for the Court of Appeal in the capital Wellington told multiple media outlets in New Zealand on Tuesday.

Brenton Tarrant, then 29, was sentenced in August 2020 to jail for life without parole for the murder of 51 people and the attempted murder of 40 others at two Christchurch mosques, the worst mass shooting in New Zealand’s history.

It was the first time a New Zealand court had sentenced someone to prison for the rest of their life.

Judge Cameron Mander said he was imposing the toughest possible term given the magnitude of the crime.

“Your crimes are so wicked, that even if you are detained until you die it will not exhaust the requirements of punishment and denunciation,” Mander said at the time.

In November 2021, Tarrant’s then-lawyer, Tony Ellis, said that the gunman was considering an appeal against the verdict, claiming his guilty plea had been obtained under duress and that he had been subjected to “inhuman and degrading treatment” while being held on remand.

The Australian national stormed the mosques armed with military-style semi-automatic weapons, indiscriminately shooting at Muslims gathered for Friday prayers and live-streaming the killings on social media.

The youngest of the victims was three-year-old Mucaad Ibrahim, who was born in New Zealand to Somali parents. The oldest was 77-year-old Muse Awale, a retired religious studies teacher.


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