In an attack broadcast live on Facebook, a lone gunman armed with semi-automatic weapons targeted Muslims attending Friday prayers on March 15, killing 51 worshippers and wounding dozens of people.
The New Zealand police have charged the man accused of murder in shootings at two Christchurch mosques in March with engaging in a terrorist act, the first time such a charge had been brought in the country’s history, they said on Tuesday.
The police filed the charges against Brenton Tarrant under the terrorism suppression legislation, they continued. “The charge will allege that a terrorist act was carried out in Christchurch,” Commissioner of Police Mike Bush said in a statement.
The charge was the first under New Zealand’s terrorism suppression legislation, introduced in 2002, after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the United States.
An additional charge of murder and two more charges of attempted murder have also been filed against Tarrant, so that the suspected white supremacist faces a total of 51 charges of murder and 40 of attempted murder.
Tarrant's shooting spree in Christchurch is considered the single deadliest attack on New Zealand's soil in its history.