Christchurch mosque gunman designated as terrorist entity

WELLINGTON, Aug. 14, 2020 (Xinhua) — New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks during a press conference in Wellington, New Zealand, Aug. 14, 2020. New Zealand’s largest city Auckland will remain in COVID-19 Alert Level 3 for 12 more days, with the rest of the country staying in Alert Level 2, as there are currently 36 active cases, 17 of which are linked to the recent community transmission in Auckland. (Xinhua/Guo Lei/IANS)

Wellington, Sep 1 (IANS) New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Tuesday announced that the gunman, who killed 51 people at two mosques in Christchurch last year and was sentenced to life in prison without parole, has been designated as a terrorist entity.

“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.

A designation under New Zealand legislation freezes the assets of terrorist entities and makes it a criminal offence to participate in or support the activities of the designated terrorist entity, Xinhua news agency quoted the Prime Minister as saying.

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

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

There are currently 20 terrorist entities designated under New Zealand law, including this offender, the statement said.

Under Section 22 of the Terrorism Suppression Act 2002, the Prime Minister may designate individuals or groups as terrorist entities, on advice from officials.

Details of the designations process and the statements of case supporting designation of these entities can be found on the New Zealand Police website.

Tuesday’s announcement came after the sentencing of 29-year-old Australian gunman, Brenton Harrison Tarranton August 27.

He was sentenced on 51 murder charges, 40 attempted murder charges and one terrorism charge.

The verdict, which is the first of its kind in New Zealand, came three days after the final hearing of the case at the High Court in Christchurch.

On March 15, 2019, Tarrant murdered 44 people at the Al Noor Mosque and killed seven more at the nearby Linwood Mosque.

He also injured 40 others in the mass shootings.

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