Crime & Justice

New Zealand mosque shooter designated ‘terrorist entity’

Sydney, Australia, Sep 1 (efe-epa).- The Christchurch mosque attacker has been designated as a “terrorist entity,” New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Tuesday, in a decision that freezes his assets to prevent him from financing more terror attacks.

“Designating the offender is an important demonstration of New Zealand’s condemnation of terrorism and violent extremism in all forms,” Ardern said in a statement.

“This designation ensures the offender cannot be involved in the financing of terrorism in the future.”

Australian Brenton Tarrant, 29, was sentenced to life in prison without parole was sentenced last week for carrying out the mosque attacks on Mar. 15, 2019 in which 51 people were killed.

He was earlier convicted of 52 charges of murder, 40 counts of attempted murder, and one charge of terrorism. The attacker has admitted the charges.

The designation, under New Zealand law, will prevent him from gaining access to his assets.

Supporting or taking part in a designated terrorist entity’s activities is also considered a criminal offense, according to the country’s legislation.

“We have an obligation to New Zealand and to the wider international community to prevent the financing of terrorist acts,” Ardern said.

The prime minister was internationally praised for the empathy she showed to the victims and her calls for unity after the mosque attack.

New Zealand has designated 20 terrorist entities so far, including Tarrant, who attacked Muslims with semi-automatic rifles during Friday prayers at the Al Noor and Linwood mosques in Christchurch and which he partly streamed on Facebook.

At Tarrant’s sentencing hearing, Crown prosecutor Barnaby Hawes told the court that the Australian national wanted to kill “as many as possible” and was on his way to attack the third mosque when he was arrested.

Since the massacre, the New Zealand government has approved reforms to gun laws and pushed for measures to be taken on social media to curb the propagation of hateful material online.

It has also set up a Royal Commission of Inquiry to investigate all factors that may have played a part in the tragedy.

Following the conviction of Tarrant, who traveled to New Zealand in 2017 to carry out the terrorist attack, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he was “open” to discussing his repatriation. EFE-EPA

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