Суббота, 20 Апреля, 2019

Canadian gets life sentence for killing six in Quebec mosque shooting

Men gather to pray inside the Quebec Islamic Cultural Centre where the Jan. 29 2017 attack took place Men gather to pray inside the Quebec Islamic Cultural Centre where the Jan. 29 2017 attack took place
Patty Aguilar | 11 Февраля, 2019, 06:27

Alexandre Bissonnette is escorted to a van in Quebec City after appearing in court for the deadly shooting at a mosque. Some of the children and widows of six murdered men began taking seats in the front row of the courtroom on Friday, after passing through extensive security screening like all those attending proceedings.

Some experts say it highlights the ongoing legal debate over consecutive life sentences in Canada.

The convict identified as Alexandre Bissonnette, 29, pleaded guilty to six counts of first degree murder and six counts of attempted murder for the attack, but he will however be eligible for parole after 40 years.

Justice Francois Huot discarded the prosecution's proposal, however, calling it "unreasonable" and that allowing a prisoner to die in jail would be "cruel and unusual punishment" and contrary to Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The Crown said it will take the time to study the 246-page decision before deciding whether to appeal. Two women left the room in tears as Huot described how Bissonnette approached Soufiane as he lay on the ground, already wounded, and fired another bullet into his head.

But other judges have rejected calls for consecutive sentences, including the Toronto judge who on Friday sentenced Bruce McArthur to life in prison with no parole for 25 years for murdering eight men with ties to Toronto's gay village.

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Prosecutors had said that Alexandre Bissonnette's crime was so hateful and so obviously motivated by bigotry that he should receive the maximum penalty of 25 years for each of the victims the 29-year-old murdered on the night of January 29, 2017.

Bissonnette will be eligible to go before the Parole Board of Canada after serving 40 years of his sentence, said Superior Court Justice François Huot.

"It's very hard, I would imagine, to really find true closure on a day like today", she said, adding that people's hearts were with the families of the victims and the entire Quebec City mosque community.

The longest prison sentence in Canada to date is 75 years without parole, which has been given to at least five triple killers including Justin Bourque, who murdered three RCMP officers in a shooting spree in New Brunswick in 2014. Bissonnette's parents were also present. "I am not a terrorist, I am not an Islamophobe".

Huot said Bissonnette's actions in entering the mosque at the end of prayers and shooting congregants were not a terrorist attack, but motivated by prejudice, particularly toward Muslim immigrants.

However, Huot said under Canadian law he could only decide in 25-year tranches on parole, CBC News' Catou MacKinnon reported, and 50 years was "clearly excessive".

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