Quantcast
Connect with us

NZ pledges gun control as mosque ‘gunman’ sacks lawyer

Published

on

New Zealand will tighten gun laws in the wake of its worst modern-day massacre, the government said Monday, as it emerged that the white supremacist accused of carrying out the killings at two mosques will represent himself in court.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said her coalition was unified on the need to reduce the availability of the kind of weapons used by Brenton Tarrant as he went room to room shooting Muslims gathered for Friday prayers.

ADVERTISEMENT

“We have made a decision as a cabinet, we are unified,” she said, flanked by her coalition partner and deputy prime minister, Winston Peters.

                                                                               AFP /Updated graphic on the Christchurch shooting attack

Peters, whose New Zealand First party has previously opposed changes, said he backed the prime minister fully.

“The reality is that after one pm on Friday our world changed forever, and so will our laws,” he said.

Ardern, the youthful premier who has become the face of the nation’s tragedy, said there would be an inquiry into the horrifying attack, as questions swirl over whether intelligence agencies should have spotted warning signs.

ADVERTISEMENT

The role of social media has also come under the spotlight, after the gunman livestreamed his rampage on Facebook.

A teenager, whose name cannot be published, appeared in court Monday charged with distributing that footage.

Meanwhile, police launched a probe into a bomb hoax that forced an hours-long closure of the airport in Dunedin on Sunday, where Tarrant lived.

ADVERTISEMENT

 AFP / DAVID MOIR Grief continued to wash across the nation, with New Zealanders of all stripes gathering to express revulsion over the killings, and unity in the face of racial hatred

Grief continued to wash across the nation Monday, with New Zealanders of all stripes gathering to express revulsion over the killings — and a unified front against racial hatred.

Family and friends outside Al Noor mosque — the scene of the largest massacre — held a sunset prayer session, with their mournful cries echoing through a park as locals looked on.

“It just happened to be the time of our evening prayer. Anywhere you are, you can just pray anywhere,” Saiyad Raza, who had travelled from Auckland to bury his cousin who died in the shootings, told AFP.

ADVERTISEMENT

Earlier, a Maori cleansing ceremony was performed at the mosque, bringing together indigenous Kiwis, Muslim leaders and local officials.

Dozens of students then paid their respects, with many coming together for a haka — a traditional Maori ceremonial dance that has been performed by groups across New Zealand in the wake of killings.

And in Auckland, students at Orewa College gathered to form a heart and the message “Kia Kaha” — “stay strong” in Maori.

ADVERTISEMENT

– ‘Nothing extraordinary’ –

The organizers of New Zealand’s largest gun show — the Kumeu Militaria Show, near Auckland — announced Monday they had cancelled the event in the wake of the massacre and because of “elevated security risks”.

 AFP / David Lintott New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said there would be an inquiry into the horrifying attack, as questions swirl over whether intelligence agencies should have spotted warning signs.

Despite having tightened the rules in the 1990s after the last mass shooting, New Zealand has relatively permissive gun laws, with licences granted to nearly every applicant.

David Tipple, the managing director of Gun City, whose online store sold Tarrant four weapons, said he felt no responsibility for the killings.

ADVERTISEMENT

“We detected nothing extraordinary about this licence holder,” he told reporters.

Tarrant, who appeared in court on Saturday charged with murder, on Monday sacked his state-appointed lawyer.

 AFP / Anthony WALLACE Members of the Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand Rehanna Ali (front), Mustafa Farouk (L), Anwar Ghani (R) and police deputy commissioner Wally Haumaha hold a press conference in Christchurch

Richard Peters, who represented the alleged killer during the hearing, told AFP the 28-year-old “wants to be self-represented in this case”.

“The way he presented was rational and someone who was not suffering any mental disability. He seemed to understand what was going on,” Peters said.

ADVERTISEMENT

Under New Zealand law, if Tarrant pleads not guilty his case would normally go to trial, raising the possibility that he could face survivors and victims’ families in court.

 AFP / Anthony WALLACE Students attend a vigil in Christchurch, New Zealand, as ripples from the two mosque attacks continued to spread

Mustafa Farouk, president of the Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand, told reporters he had faith in the system.

“As a community, we would like that person to go through the process, the due process, and to be given all his rights,” he said.

“We believe in the justice system here and we know it will do what is right.”

But, he cautioned, the attitudes that gave rise to the killing — documented in a rambling, racist screed released online minutes before the attacks began — must be tackled.

ADVERTISEMENT

“This rise in hatred… by people who call themselves right-wing, whether smaller groups or through reckless politicians, should not be allowed to continue.”

– Digging graves –

Frustrated families of the 50 victims were still waiting Monday for the release of the bodies of their loved ones, as officials worked their way through a painstaking investigation.

 AFP / Marty MELVILLE Despite having tightened the rules in the 1990s after the last mass shooting, New Zealand has relatively permissive gun laws, with nearly all those who apply granted licences

Dozens of graves were being dug in readiness for that release, which Police Deputy Commissioner Wally Haumaha said would hopefully happen soon.

ADVERTISEMENT

“The process has been highly emotional and stressful for all… as in accordance with Islamic faith the families have wanted the bodies to be returned as soon as possible,” he said.

“We have burial expert teams in place ready to receive the bodies at a point in time.”

The dead span generations, aged between three and 77, according to a list circulated among relatives.

Some victims came from the neighbourhood, others from as far afield as Egypt. At least two of the dead came from the same family — a father and son.

ADVERTISEMENT

Delhi said Sunday that five of its nationals were killed, while Pakistan said nine of its citizens were among the dead, including one man who died trying to rush Tarrant.

Authorities said 31 people remained in hospital, nine in critical condition.

Reigning Super Rugby champions Canterbury Crusaders, who play in Christchurch, said Monday they would consider changing their name after criticism that it was historically insensitive.

Distinctive writing on the mosque attacker’s weaponry included the names of figures from the Crusades, the religious wars waged by European Christians against Muslims for control of the Holy Land in the Middle Ages.

ADVERTISEMENT


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Facebook

‘You never cover this’: Giuliani has fresh meltdown on Fox News over Biden’s ‘drug addict’ son

Published

on

President Donald Trump's attorney, Rudy Giuliani, went on a conspiratorial rant on Sunday involving Joe Biden's son and billionaire George Soros.

During an appearance on FOX News Sunday, Biden tried to smear Hunter Biden as a corrupt "drug addict" was doing illegal business in the Ukraine.

According to the president's attorney, Biden tried to cover up his son's business dealings in a conspiracy that involves Soros.

Guest host John Roberts asked Giuliani if it was "appropriate" for him to try have to the Bidens investigated.

"This began with someone saying, this information can clear your client," Giuliani opined. "The corruption in Ukraine about the corruption in Ukraine between the Ukraine and the Democratic Party, the ambassador and the FBI agent who investigated."

Continue Reading

2020 Election

Will Trump peacefully vacate the Oval Office if he loses the presidential election in 2020? A lesson from 1800

Published

on

As primary season heats up in the United States, the Democrats are anxiously debating the best path to unseat Donald Trump in 2020. But the question of how to beat Trump is perhaps less urgent than the issue of whether he will accept defeat.

Trump has already questioned his loss of the 2016 popular vote with baseless accusations of voter fraud. He has also repeatedly toyed with the idea of extending his presidency beyond the eight-year limit enshrined in the U.S. Constitution, even trumpeting Jerry Falwell Jr.’s assertion that his first term be extended by two years to compensate for the Russia investigation. Perhaps most ominously, Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen warned while testifying before the House Oversight Committee in February 2019:

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

Something is killing galaxies — and science is on the case

Published

on

In the most extreme regions of the universe, galaxies are being killed. Their star formation is being shut down and astronomers want to know why.

The first ever Canadian-led large project on one of the world’s leading telescopes is hoping to do just that. The new program, called the Virgo Environment Traced in Carbon Monoxide survey (VERTICO), is investigating, in brilliant detail, how galaxies are killed by their environment.

As VERTICO’s principal investigator, I lead a team of 30 experts that are using the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA) to map the molecular hydrogen gas, the fuel from which new stars are made, at high resolution across 51 galaxies in our nearest galaxy cluster, called the Virgo Cluster.

Continue Reading
 
 
Help Raw Story Investigate and Uncover Injustice. Join Raw Story Investigates for $1 and go ad-free.
close-image