Politics

New Zealand concludes public inquest on Christchurch terror attack

Sydney, Australia, Dec 15 (EFE).- A public inquest into the 2019 terror attack on two mosques in New Zealand that killed 51 people and injured 40 concluded hearings on Friday.

The inquest, which began on Oct. 24, aimed to understand the cause and circumstances of the deaths, and review the response of emergency services and the police on the day of the attack.

The hearings were held in South Island’s Christchurch where Al Noor Mosque and Linwood Islamic Centre came under attack in March 2019.

“The work of the inquiry was not over, and it would take time to absorb the significant amount of evidence heard before any findings could be made available,” Deputy Chief Coroner Brigitte Windley was quoted as saying by public broadcaster RNZ.

The hearings do not intend to impose sanctions or grant compensation but rather establish the truth of what happened and formulate better-coordinated response measures for the future.

Only with understanding it is “possible to consider whether the response and the inevitable care gap could be improved in the future, despite our strongest wish that a response to such an attack on our shores is never needed again,” Windley said.

On Mar. 15, 2019, Australian Brenton Tarrant indiscriminately fired semi-automatic weapons at people attending Friday prayer at the two mosques in Christchurch.

He also posted a white supremacist manifesto to social media before his attack and live-streamed his massacre on Facebook via bodycam.

In August 2020, Tarrant was sentenced to life in prison without parole for the 51 charges of murder, while each of the 40 counts of attempted murder was given a 12-year prison sentence.

The incident led to gun ownership laws being changed in New Zealand, and the “Christchurch Call” initiative to fight online hate was launched. EFE

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