- Francis Mao
- BBC News
The perpetrator of the 2019 New Zealand mosque attack, which killed 51 people, has filed an appeal against his conviction, officials said.
Court officials added that Brenton Tarrant, 32, has filed an appeal against his case and sentence, and an appeal hearing has not yet been set.
Tarrant was sentenced in 2020 to life in prison without parole for premeditated murder and attempted murder of Muslim worshipers.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said he was trying to “re-harm people”.
Asked about his appeal, Ardern told reporters: “It’s a name that should not be repeated and I will apply the same rule to commenting on his attempts to re-harm people. We should give him nothing.”
The Ardern government refuses to mention Tarrant’s name publicly to deny him any platform or reputation.
Imam Jamal Fouda, a survivor of the attack on the Al Noor mosque in Christchurch, said he “finds it difficult to understand” Tarrant’s appeal, given that he “personally pleaded guilty”.
He told the New Zealand Herald: “I can’t help but believe this is yet another act of this terrorist to hurt his victims again by keeping his memory and his acts of terrorism alive.”
Tarrant, an Australian who moved to Christchurch in 2017, stormed two mosques in the southern city on March 15, 2019, armed with military-style semi-automatic rifles.
He intended to kill as many Muslims as possible, broadcast the attack on Facebook via a head-mounted camera, and also posted a 74-page manifesto on forums promoting extremism.
His trial took place in 2020, and during the trial he chose not to give any testimony, and pleaded guilty to charges of murder, attempted murder and terrorism, and declined to oppose the prosecution’s request for the maximum possible sentence.
He was sentenced to life in prison without parole, the first time New Zealand had handed down such a sentence. There is no death penalty in the country.
The judge who delivered the ruling at the time noted that Tarrant showed no remorse, remorse or shame for what he had done, and Judge Cameron Mander told him: “Your crimes are so vicious that even if you are imprisoned all your life to your death, you will not exhaust the terms of the sentence.”
Deaths are currently being investigated in New Zealand in the attack, and authorities said on Tuesday they would consider whether the appeal would affect the investigation.
The Christchurch attack has been described as the worst mass shooting in New Zealand’s history, and the shootings have prompted Parliament to pass tougher gun laws and buy back certain types of guns from owners.
What happened in Christchurch?
The gunman opened fire on two mosques in the city on March 15, 2019.
First, the worshipers were targeted inside the Al-Noor Mosque.
Less than 30 seconds later, he returned to his car to get another weapon, then entered the mosque again and resumed shooting at those inside.
The entire incident was broadcast live on Facebook via a camera that the perpetrator attached to a hat he was wearing, then drove to the Linwood Islamic Center where he shot two people outside and then shot the windows.
A man from the inside lunged out and picked up one of the attacker’s guns before he was pushed away.
Two police officers then chased after the gunman and arrested him.
After his arrest, Tarrant told police that his plan was to burn mosques after his attack and that he wished he had.