• Tuesday, May 24, 2022

HEADLINE STORY

Survivors, grieving families pummel ‘white supremacist’ Christchurch mosque attacker

Manal Dokhan (R) gestures towards Australian white supremacist Brenton Tarrant as she gives a victim impact statement on Tarrant’s third day in court for a sentence hearing in Christchurch on August 26, 2020. (Photo: JOHN KIRK-ANDERSON/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Eastern Eye Staff

THE father of slain three-year-old Mucaad Ibrahim, the youngest victim in the New Zealand mosque shootings, told the white supremacist who gunned down his son that “true justice” awaited him in the next life and it would be more severe than prison.

“You have killed my son and to me it is as if you have killed the whole of New Zealand,” Aden Ibrahim Diriye said in a statement read by a family member during a sentencing hearing for Brenton Tarrant on Wednesday.

“Know that true justice is waiting for you in the next life and that will be far more severe. I will never forgive you for what you have done.”

Gunman Brenton Tarrant, a 29-year-old Australian, is scheduled to be sentenced this week after pleading guilty to 51 murders, 40 attempted murders and one charge of committing a terrorist act during the 2019 shooting rampage in the city of Christchurch which he livestreamed on Facebook.

A murder conviction carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison. The judge can impose a life term without parole, a sentence that has never been used in New Zealand.

 

Australian white supremacist Brenton Tarrant attends his third day in court for a sentence hearing in Christchurch on August 26, 2020. (Photo: JOHN KIRK-ANDERSON/AFP via Getty Images)

 

Survivors and families of victims have addressed the court this week and many have urged the judge to sentence Tarrant to the most severe sentence.

Diriye, a refugee from Somalia who moved to New Zealand 25 years ago, told the court his son had been robbed of a future.

“He used to engage and play with the police; at home he would run around the house pretending to be a cop and wear police uniform. We thought one day he might become a police officer,” he said in his statement.

While most of Tarrant’s victims were at Al Noor mosque, including Mucaad Ibrahim, he killed seven people at the Linwood mosque.

The casualty list would likely have been higher if it weren’t for Abdul Aziz Wahabzadah, who was commended for his courage on Wednesday by High Court Judge Cameron Mander after confronting Tarrant at the Linwood mosque.

After shots rang out in the mosque, Aziz engaged Tarrant outside, throwing a bank card machine at him and drawing fire when the gunman returned to his car, loaded with high-powered weapons, ammunition and incendiary devices.

“I didn’t want him to go inside the mosque because we had 80-100 people praying at that time,” Aziz said on Wednesday.

Aziz took cover, and weaved through parked cars, to stop Tarrant getting a clear shot. Tarrant’s plan frustrated, he left quickly in his car and was detained en route to a third mosque.

“I could see in his eyes he feared for his own life… you should thank God on that day I did not catch you,” Aziz told Tarrant.

“You will never forget these two eyes you ran from.”

 

Abdul Aziz Wahabzadah is seen during the sentencing hearing for Christchurch mosque gunman Brenton Tarrant on August 26, 2020 in Christchurch, New Zealand. (Photo: John Kirk-Anderson /Getty Images)

 

Ahad Nabi, who lost his 71-year-old father in the attack, stared at Tarrant before delivering a passionate statement, demanding that Tarrant should “never walk free” for his cowardly actions on March 15, 2019.

“You are weak, a sheep with a wolf’s jacket on for only 10 minutes of your whole life,” said Nabi, referring to the shooting rampage.

“This world was created with colour, a peasant like you will never change the human race.”

 

Ahad Nabi, whose father Haji Daoud Nabi was killed in Al Noor mosque by Brenton Tarrant, gestures towards the Australian white supremacist in court for a sentence hearing in Christchurch on August 26, 2020. (Photo: JOHN KIRK-ANDERSON/AFP via Getty Images)

 

Hasmine Mohamedhosen, whose brother Mohamed was killed, called Tarrant the “son of a devil” who she wanted to “rot in hell between the four walls of your cell for eternity”.

Ahad Nabi, whose father Haji Daoud Nabi was killed in Al Noor mosque, said Tarrant should never be allowed to walk free.

“While you are in prison you will come to realise that you are now in hell and only the fire awaits you,” he said.

Mustafa Boztas, who was shot in the leg, likened Tarrant to “a rotten cloth that has been thrown away after dirty work.

“You are not even a human, not even an animal, since animals are beneficial to the world,” he said.

John Milne, whose 14-year-old son Sayyad was murdered, said since the killings his mental health had suffered, leading to a spell in a psychiatric ward.

“There is a huge hole in my heart that will only heal when I meet Sayyad again in heaven,” he said.

“I hope to see you there too, Brenton, and if you get the chance I’d love you to say sorry to Sayyad. I’m sure he’s forgiven you too.”

Sara Qasem, daughter of victim Abdelfattah Qasem, said she would miss smelling her father’s garden sauce cooking and wanted to hear his stories about the “olive trees in Palestine”.

“You made a choice here – a conscious, stupid, irresponsible, cold-blooded, selfish, disgusting, heinous, evil choice,” Qasem said, looking at Tarrant, seated and surrounded by guards.

Tarrant, who is representing himself, will not speak ahead of his sentencing, court officials said on Wednesday. He has directed a lawyer assisting the court to make a brief statement on his behalf. The judge has previously said sentencing would not occur before Thursday.

Prosecutors have told the court that Tarrant wanted to instil fear in those he described as invaders and that he carefully planned the attacks to cause maximum carnage.

Live reporting from the courtroom was banned, and other restrictions were put in place on what the media could report.

The hearings were adjourned until Thursday morning.

Eastern Eye

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