WELLINGTON, New Zealandh—The man who committed the worst atrocity in New Zealands modern history when he slaughtered 51 worshippers at two Christchurch mosques unexpectedly changed his plea to guilty for all charges on Thursday.
The attacks targeting people praying at the mosques a year ago shocked the nation and prompted the Ardern Labor government to bring in new laws banning the deadliest types of semi-automatic weapons. It also prompted global changes to social media protocols after the gunman livestreamed his attack on Facebook, where it was viewed by hundreds of thousands of people.
The sudden turn in the case took survivors and relatives by surprise, and brought relief to people across New Zealand. Many had feared the Australian eco-fascist Brenton Harrison Tarrant would try to use his trial as a platform to promote his views. Hed outlined those views in a 74-page manifesto he published online shortly before the attacks.
Tarrant, 29, pleaded guilty to 51 counts of murder, 40 counts of attempted murder, and one count of terrorism at the Christchurch High Court. He had previously pleaded not guilty to all charges and his trial had been scheduled to start in June.
Tarrant is the first person to be found guilty of terrorism in New Zealand under laws passed after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the U.S.
The change in plea came less than two weeks after New Zealanders commemorated those who died during the attacks on March 15, 2019.
“Honestly, Im still trying to process what just happened,” said Aya Al-Umari, whose brother Hussein was killed in the attack on the Al Noor mosque. “I feel conflicted.”
She said that on the one hand, she had wanted to find out more details about what happened at the trial but on the other hand was feeling relieved about not having to face the trauma of sitting through it.
Temel Atacocugu, who survived being shot nine times during the attack at Al Noor, saRead More – Source