Survivors and the loved ones of slain worshipers in the 2019 New Zealand mosque attacks confronted terrorist Brenton Harrison Tarrant in court Monday, during a hearing ahead of his sentencing.
“I can’t forgive you,” said Maysoon Salama whose son Ata Elayyan was killed by the Australian, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. “You gave yourself the authority to take the souls of 51 people. Our only crime in your eyes is that we are Muslims.”
“You killed your own humanity and I don’t think the world will forgive you for your horrible crime. May you get the severest punishment for your evil act in this life, and hereafter,” Salama continued.
Her husband, Mohammad Atta Ahmad Alayan, sobbed as he recalled hearing the “devastating” news that their 33-year-old son was killed. Alayan survived the attack despite being shot in the head and shoulder, according to the report.
A handcuffed and grey-clad Tarrant sat stoic as he looked directly at most of the victims during their statements.
In March, Tarrant pleaded guilty to killing 51 people in a pair of shootings — which he livestreamed on Facebook — at two mosques in Christchurch on March 15, 2019. One of his victims was just 3 years old.
The 29-year-old white supremacist faces life in prison at his sentencing later this week and could also be stripped of the possibility of parole — a sentence that has never been doled out in the country’s history.
“He intended to instill fear into those he described as invaders, including the Muslim population or more generally non-European immigrants,” prosecutor Barnaby Hawes said in court, according to the Herald.
Hawes said Tarrant told cops after the attacks that he wished he had killed more people and that he had planned to burn down the mosques.
Hawes also described Tarrant’s careful planning — including years spent buying firearms, flying a drone over the mosque to case out its exits and even carefully picking the day of the attack all to cause maximum fatalities.
Al Noor mosque imam Gamal Fouda said Tarrant’s malice was needless and said the killer was “misguided and misled.”
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