New Zealand Designates Christchurch Mosque Gunman as Terrorist Entity

The 29-year-old, Brenton Harrison Tarrant, has already been sentenced to life in prison without parole

Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand's Prime Minister, announced on Tuesday that Brenton Harrison Tarrant, the gunman who last year killed 51 people at two mosques, has been designated as a terrorist entity. He has already been sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Confirming Tarranton's designation, Arden said in a statement, "Designating the offender is an important demonstration of New Zealand's condemnation of terrorism and violent extremism in all forms."

PM's Power to Designate as Terrorist Entities

Brenton Harrison Tarrant
Brenton Harrison Tarrant, the man who killed 51 people in Christchurch Twitter

A designation under New Zealand legislation freezes the assets of terrorist entities and makes it a criminal offense to participate in or support the activities of the designated terrorist entity, Xinhua news agency quoted the Prime Minister as saying.

"This designation ensures the offender cannot be involved in the financing of terrorism in the future. We have an obligation to New Zealand and to the wider international community to prevent the financing of terrorist acts," she said.

There are currently 20 terrorist entities designated under New Zealand law, including this offender, the statement said. Under Section 22 of the Terrorism Suppression Act 2002, the Prime Minister may designate individuals or groups as terrorist entities, on advice from officials.

First-of-its-Kind Verdict

Details of the designations process and the statements of the case supporting the designation of these entities can be found on the New Zealand Police website. Tuesday's announcement came after the sentencing of the 29-year-old Australian gunman on August 27.

He was sentenced on 51 murder charges, 40 attempted murder charges and one terrorism charge. The verdict, which is the first of its kind in New Zealand, came three days after the final hearing of the case at the High Court in Christchurch. On March 15, 2019, Tarrant murdered 44 people at the Al Noor Mosque and killed seven more at the nearby Linwood Mosque. He also injured 40 others in the mass shootings.

(With inputs from agencies)