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New Zealand mosque attack suspect appears in Court

The Australian involved in the terror attack at 2 mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, on Friday, March 15, 2019, killing 49 people, has been presented before Christchurch District Court and charged with murder. He has been remanded without a plea until the next hearing on Friday, April 5, 2019.

The 28 years old Australian, Brenton Tarrant, appeared in white prison dress before the court. He flashed an upside-down “okay” signal, a symbol used by white power groups. The lawyer appointed by Court for the accused didn’t ask for bail.

The New Zealand Police has detained 2 other suspects but none of them have any criminal record in New Zealand and Australia. The victims were from different parts of the world including Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Jordan, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Malaysia.

The Prime Minister of New Zealand – Jacinda Ardern has said the guns used by the attackers were modified and the suspect’s car was loaded with guns. The suspect had obtained the gun licence in November 2017 which allowed him to buy the weapons.

The Police has recovered 5 weapons, including 2 semi-automatic weapons and 2 shotguns from the suspect.

Addressing the Press Conference, Ardern said, “The mere fact… that this individual had acquired a gun licence and acquired weapons of that range, then obviously I think people will be seeking change, and I’m committing to that.”

She added, “I can tell you one thing right now, our gun laws will change. The offender was mobile, there were two other firearms in the vehicle that the offender was in, and it absolutely was his intention to continue with his attack. “I’m not privileged to a full breakdown at this point but it is clear that young children have been caught up in this horrific attack.”

For the records, New Zealand has relatively loose gun laws. The minimum age for obtaining a gun license is 16. Anyone above 18 years can have a military-style semi-automatic weapon. Although all gun owners are required to have a licence, but most weapons do not require registration. Once the licence is granted, the gun owners can buy as many weapons as he/she want.

Tarrant’s relatives in the town of Grafton, New South Wales, Australis approached the police after learning of the shooting.

The people of New Zealand have condemned the attack. People have kept flowers outside the 2 mosques. Many people left a hand note which read, “This is not New Zealand”.

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