During the third day of a four-day sentencing hearing, survivors and relatives of the victims of a mosque attack in New Zealand spoke out against gunman Brenton Tarrant. There was a feeling of sorrow but also of defiance-in the air as nearly 90 people spoke about the tragedy in which 51 people were killed in Christchurch. Last year Tarrant opened fire on two mosques, injuring dozens more. Until his sentencing Thursday he opted not to appear in court.
The 29-year-old Australian has agreed to plead guilty to 51 murder charges, 40 attempted murders and one terror charge. He faces life in jail, possibly without parole-a sentence that never imposes in New Zealand before. Their tears cry in a courtroom on Wednesday, Quran verses read and photographs of loved ones hold high, as the last of the victims and relatives give their statements. Here are some of the potent declarations they make.
Ahad Nabi, who lost his elderly father Haj to a mosque in Al Noor. Clad in a rugby league uniform for New Zealand Warriors, Ahad did not hold back his fury while talking to Tarrant.
Maysoon Salama, Muhammad’s mother Ata Elayyan teared up. She spoke about the last moments before the death of her son. Wasseim Sati Ali Daragmih, shoot several times with his daughter at the Al Noor Mosque. Daragmih was defiant as he approached the stand and directly addressed Tarrant.
Tarrant burst out laughing himself-then caught himself and covered his mouth. Daragmih ‘s words soon feel serious, saying that Tarrant “fail” to destroy their community.