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After Guilty Plea, NZ Mass Shooter Appeals, Angering Muslims

An Australian man who in 2019 killed 51 worshipers at two mosques in New Zealand has appealed his life sentence, prompting accusations that he was trying to inflict more emotional damage on the Muslim community, the Washington Post reports. New Zealanders expressed relief and joy in 2020 when Brenton Tarrant, the gunman responsible for the deadliest act of violence in the country’s modern history, was sentenced to life in prison without parole. For many in Christchurch, a city of nearly 370,000, the sentencing was an opportunity to start healing. Tarrant pleaded guilty after a surprise reversal of his original plea, but he has now appealed both the sentencing and conviction.

“This is rather a blatant and calculated attempt to retraumatize the Christchurch victims specifically and the nation as a whole. This shows that the March 15 terrorist has no remorse,” said the Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand (FIANZ). The group said Tarrant was attempting to “gain notoriety and in the process milk our justice platforms for hate speech,” and also “gain new adherents to their cause of hate.” Imam Gamal Fouda of Al Noor Mosque, one of the two mosques targeted in the massacre, said he was “struggling to understand” why Tarrant was appealing the conviction after he had pleaded guilty. “I cannot help but think that this is another action from this terrorist to harm his victims again by keeping alive the memory of him and his terrorist actions,” Fouda said. He said he believed the appeal “will cause a significant trauma in our community.” New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern declined to comment on the appeal, saying she had pledged not to say the gunman’s name. “His is a story that should not be told and his is a name that should not be repeated,” she said.


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