Canadian gets life sentence for Quebec mosque shooting

Clay Curtis
February 10, 2019

A Canadian man who shot dead six worshipers at a mosque in Quebec City in 2017, was sentenced to life imprisonment.

"We need to remember that sentencing is individual, it takes in a number of factors, and those include the circumstances of the crime, the severity, the impact on the community, but it also has to reference the circumstances and background of the offender", she said. Several people in the room wept as the judge read a detailed account of the shooter's actions.

Alexandre Bissonnette, 29, pleaded guilty a year ago to six counts of first-degree murder and six counts of attempted murder for the attack, one of Canada's rare mass shootings.

Quebec prosecutors had asked that Bissonnette serve consecutive sentences for each charge, for a total of 150 years in prison without parole.

On Friday, Quebec Superior Court Justice Francois Huot rejected the Crown's call to sentence Bissonnette to 150 years with no chance of parole, arguing a sentence of 50 years or more would constitute cruel and unusual punishment under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

A 2011 legal change allows Canadian judges to hand down consecutive sentences in the case of multiple murders.

The judge began his ruling by saying the day of the murders "will forever be written in blood in the history of this city, this province, this country".

This was a Reuters error as the judge was still reading his judgment.

Groom accused of sexually assaulting teen waitress at wedding reception
Aimers was charged with indecent assault, indecent exposure, imprisonment of a minor, harassment and related offenses. An employee told officers that Aimers had punched him after he tried to stop the groom from bringing alcohol outside.

Six worshippers were killed: Mamadou Tanou Barry, 42; Abdelkrim Hassane, 41; Khaled Belkacemi, 60; Aboubaker Thabti, 44; Azzeddine Soufiane, 57; and Ibrahima Barry, 39.

Bissonnette also told a psychiatrist that he regretted not killing more people.

Six men were killed and five were seriously injured, one of whom is now quadriplegic.

But Huot said Bissonnette had previously considered attacking other targets including feminists, shopping centres and airports.

"He really backed himself up, to use the expression", he said.

People hold candles for victims of Sunday's deadly shooting at a Quebec City mosque, during a vigil in Montreal on Monday, Jan. 30, 2017. "I am not a terrorist, I am not an Islamophobe".

But in a police interrogation played in court during sentencing, Bissonnette told investigators he wanted to protect his family from terrorists when he committed the killings.

"His crimes were truly motivated by race and a visceral hatred toward Muslim immigrants", the judge said, adding that his crimes were "premeditated, gratuitous and abject".

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