CHRISTCHURCH | White supremacist Brenton Tarrant, who murdered 51 faithful Muslims in 2019 in New Zealand, remained unmoved on Monday when survivors and the prosecutor returned to the hearing over the long minutes of horror at two Christchurch mosques.
The trial of the 29-year-old Australian, who was found guilty of 51 murders and 40 attempted murders and one count of terrorism, entered its home stretch on Monday. Christchurch court is expected to announce the sentence on Thursday.
While the killer had attended by video conference, in his high security prison in Auckland, the previous hearings, he was present in court on Monday. This was the first time he had been confronted with survivors and families since the attacks of March 15, 2019.
That day, Abdiaziz Ali Jama, a 44-year-old Somali refugee, saw her brother-in-law Muse Awale being killed in front of her eyes.
“I see the images and I still hear the rata-rata-rata of the weapon in my head,” Ms. Jama told the court.
Three year old child
Dressed in his gray inmate uniform, and flanked by three police officers in the cubicle, Brenton Tarrant remained silent and unmoved, sometimes raising his head to look at the audience.
Prosecutor Barnaby Hawes gave a chilling account of the facts, explaining that the accused “would have wanted to kill more people”.
He recounted how the Australian had that day methodically slaughtered women, children and men, while filming the killings and televising it live on social media, how he ignored pleas for pity from some victims, how he had run over a body while going from one mosque to another.
When he saw three-year-old Mucad Ibrahim gripping his father’s leg, Mr. Tarrant executed him “with two precisely placed bullets,” said Mr. Hawes.
Several lawyers believe that the Australian will be the first, in New Zealand, to be sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.
Mr Tarrant, who had pleaded guilty, was arrested as he hoped to reach Ashburton, an hour south of Christchurch, to attack a third mosque there.
“He admitted to the police that he went to mosques with the aim of killing as many people as possible,” Hawes said.
“During the hearings (…) he explained that the attacks were motivated by his ideological convictions and that he hoped to sow fear among those he describes as” invaders “, in particular the Muslim population and all non-immigrants. Europeans. “
Gamal Fouda, imam of al-Nour Mosque in Christchurch, said that that day he “saw hatred in the eyes of a fanatic terrorist”.
“Your hatred is not necessary,” he told the Australian.
Brenton Tarrant arrived in New Zealand in 2017, the prosecutor said. He lived in Dunedin, 360 km south of Christchurch, where he had assembled an entire arsenal and purchased over 7,000 ammunition.
Two months before the attacks, he had traveled to Christchurch to locate the scene. He had flown a drone over the Al-Nour Mosque, filming the building, its entrances and exits, and made detailed notes on the journey to Linwood Mosque.
– He wanted to burn the mosques –
On March 15, 2019, he drove from Dunedin to Christchurch equipped with multiple semi-automatic weapons on which he had inscribed various symbols as well as references to the Crusades and recent terrorist attacks.
He had spare magazines full of ammunition as well as jerry cans “to set the mosques on fire,” Hawes said. “He said he regretted not having done it.”
A few minutes before taking action, he had sent his 74-page “manifesto” to an extremist site, warned his family of what he was about to do and sent emails to several editors containing threats against them. mosques.
Mr. Tarrant chose to defend himself without a lawyer.
For his part, Judge Cameron Mander imposed drastic restrictions on media coverage of the proceedings to prevent the accused from using his trial as a platform to spread his hate messages.
The magistrate notably indicates to the media, which are not authorized to report live the content of the hearings, what they can or not report.
This slaughter led the government to toughen the gun law and step up efforts to fight extremism on the internet.