'True justice' awaits NZ mosque gunman, say families, survivors

Gunman Brenton Tarrant being taken to a High Court hearing in Christchurch, New Zealand on Tuesday. He will be sentenced this week.
Gunman Brenton Tarrant being taken to a High Court hearing in Christchurch, New Zealand on Tuesday. He will be sentenced this week.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

WELLINGTON • The father of slain three-year-old Mucaad Ibrahim, the youngest victim in the New Zealand mosque shootings, told the white supremacist who gunned down his son that true justice awaited him in the next life and it would be more severe than prison.

"You have killed my son and to me, it is as if you have killed the whole of New Zealand," Mr Aden Ibrahim Diriye said in a statement read by a family member during a sentencing hearing for gunman Brenton Tarrant yesterday. "Know that true justice is waiting for you in the next life and that will be far more severe. I will never forgive you for what you have done."

Tarrant, a 29-year-old Australian, is scheduled to be sentenced this week after pleading guilty to 51 murders, 40 attempted murders and one charge of committing a terrorist act during the shooting rampage on March 15 last year in Christchurch which he livestreamed on Facebook.

A murder conviction carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison. The judge can impose a life term without parole.

Survivors and families of victims have addressed the court this week and many have urged the judge to sentence Tarrant to the most severe sentence.

Mr Diriye, a refugee from Somalia who moved to New Zealand 25 years ago, told the court his son had been robbed of a future.

"He used to engage and play with the police; at home he would run around the house pretending to be a cop and wear police uniform. We thought one day he might become a police officer," he said.

While most of Tarrant's victims were at Al Noor mosque, including Mucaad, he also killed seven people at the Linwood mosque.

Mr Ahad Nabi, who lost his 71-year-old father in the attack, stared at Tarrant before delivering a passionate statement, demanding that Tarrant should "never walk free" for his cowardly actions.

"You are weak, a sheep with a wolf's jacket on for only 10 minutes of your whole life," said Mr Nabi, referring to the shooting rampage.

"This world was created with colour, a peasant like you will never change the human race."

 
 

Ms Sara Qasem, daughter of victim Abdelfattah Qasem, said she would miss smelling her father's sauce cooking and wanted to hear his stories about the "olive trees in Palestine".

HEINOUS CRIME

You made a choice here - a conscious, stupid, irresponsible, cold-blooded, selfish, disgusting, heinous, evil choice.

MS SARA QASEM, daughter of victim Abdelfattah Qasem

"You made a choice here - a conscious, stupid, irresponsible, cold-blooded, selfish, disgusting, heinous, evil choice," she said, looking at Tarrant, seated and surrounded by guards.

Tarrant, who is representing himself, will not speak ahead of his sentencing. He has directed a lawyer assisting the court to make a brief statement on his behalf.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 27, 2020, with the headline ''True justice' awaits NZ mosque gunman, say families, survivors'. Subscribe