Brenton Tarrant, the man behind the 2019 Christchurch mosque shootings, was sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole in a New Zealand court Wednesday. Tarrant was given the harshest penalty ever doled out by a New Zealand court, confirming that he will die behind bars for his actions.
At Tarrant’s sentencing, Judge Cameron Mander called the shooter’s actions “inhuman,” and “brutal and beyond callous.”
“Your crimes are so wicked, that even if you are detained until you die it will not exhaust the requirements of punishment and denunciation,” the judge added.
Earlier this week, survivors of last year's New Zealand massacre of Muslims at two Christchurch mosques confronted terrorist gunman Brenton Tarrant in court this week, telling the white supremacist he deserved to die. "You live like a rat and you deserve that ... unfortunately he's not a human, he doesn't deserve to be judged like a human," said Zuhair Darwish, whose brother was killed in the attacks.
The 29-year-old Australian, who live-streamed the rampage on Facebook, pleaded guilty earlier this year to 51 counts of murder, 40 counts of attempted murder and one count of committing a terrorist act.
It was the worst act of terrorism in New Zealand's modern history. On March 15, 2019, Tarrant gunned down worshipers at the Al Noor Mosque and Linwood Islamic Center in Christchurch.
Victims and relatives of the dead called Tarrant a "rat," a "devil" and a "loser."
Darwish said the "fair punishment" for Tarrant would be death, but New Zealand in 1961 abolished the use of capital punishment for murder. Tarrant is expected to receive life in prison when the judge sentences him on Thursday.
"Nobody wants you, buddy. You're rejected by your country, your parents and your friends. You're a loser and don't deserve to see the light of day," said Farisha Razak in a recorded statement. Her father, Ashraf Ali, was killed at Al Noor Mosque.
Mirwais Waziri, who survived the shootings, said he had been called a terrorist "for fun or a joke," as an Afghan living in New Zealand.
Facing Tarrant in court, he said, "today you are a terrorist and us as Muslims are not terrorists." The remark prompted applause at the hearing, where some of those attending had traveled from overseas to witness Tarrant's sentencing.
The killer showed no emotion during the powerful remarks.