New Zealand police charge Christchurch mosque attacker with terrorism

Tuesday, 21 May 2019 (16:18 IST)
The man accused of gunning down 51 people at two mosques in Christchurch has been formally charged with terrorism. The charge is a first for New Zealand and carries a maximum penalty of life in prison.
New Zealand police said Tuesday they had filed a terrorism charge against the Australian national accused of killing 51 worshippers in attacks on Christchurch mosques in March. 
"A charge of engaging in a Terrorist Act under section 6A of the Terrorism Suppression Act 2002 has now been filed," police said in a statement.
The offense carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. It's also a test case for New Zealand's terror law, which was enacted in 2002 following the 9/11 terror attacks in the United States.
The 28-year-old suspected white supremacist is also facing 51 murder charges and 40 attempted murder charges. 
He is currently being held in a high-security prison and has been ordered to undergo psychiatric assessment. His next court appearance is scheduled for June 14.
The March 15 attacks on the Al Noor and Linwood mosques in Christchurch were the worst shootings in New Zealand's history.
The carnage shocked the population and prompted the government to tighten the country's gun laws. It also sparked widespread criticism of social media platforms, which allowed the lone gunman to livestream the massacre.

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