New Zealand mosque attack suspect gets terrorism charge

New Zealand mosque attack suspect gets terrorism charge
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The man accused of killing dozens in a shooting targeting two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, has been charged with terrorism, police said Tuesday.

Brenton Tarrant, 28, was charged with engaging in a terrorist act, police said in a Tuesday release. He also faces 51 counts of murder and 40 attempted murder charges in the March 15 massacre.

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The terrorism charge has brought skepticism from some legal experts, who reportedly wonder if the charge will allow the gunman — who identifies as a white supremacist — to “use the trial as a platform for his ideology,” The New York Times reported.

“He will say ‘I’m not a terrorist, I’m a patriot,’” University of Auckland law professor Bill Hodge told Newstalk ZB.

If found guilty of murder or terrorism, Tarrant could face life in prison. His next appearance in court is set for June.

“Police are committed to providing all the support necessary for what will be a challenging and emotional court process to come for the victim’s families and survivors of the attack,” Police Commissioner Mike Bush said in the release.