Mosque shooter gets life, no parole for 40 years in Canada

Alexandre Bissonnette

A Canadian man who gunned down six people in a mosque in Quebec City in 2017 was sentenced to life in prison with no parole for 40 years, CTV reported on Friday.

In the end, the judge said Bissonnette will not be eligible for parole until he served 40 years of his sentence.

The Crown had recommended that his six life sentences be served consecutively, which would have totalled 150 years.

But he also noted the killer's "visceral hatred of Muslim immigrants".

Shortly after his arrest, Bissonnette told police that the attack was motivated by immigration in Canada.

"With your hatred and racism, you've ruined their lives, yours and your parents', and the crime you've done deserves the greatest denunciation", he said.

The justice said that in the years leading up to the shooting, Bissonnette increasingly drank alcohol and experienced anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts.

The killer's "highly premeditated" attack on the mosque will go down in Canadian history "written in blood" as one of this country's worst tragedies, Huot said in court.

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The judge read out segments of his 246-page decision as a packed courtroom sat for six hours.

The 2017 shooting incident described as one of Canada's rarest mass shootings which Prime Minister Justin Trudeau denounced a "terrorist attack", provoked debate over new arrivals at a time when a growing number of migrants moved from the U.S. into Quebec.

"This was a very serious attack in a place of worship", he said.

"I had hoped for justice for the victims, for the people who died, and that the sentence reflected the seriousness of the crime", he said.

On the evening of January 29, 2017, Bissonnette stormed into the centre and shot at those gathered for prayers, killing six and seriously injuring five others, including Aymen Derbali, who is now paralyzed.

Alexandre Bissonnette had already pleaded guilty to six counts of first-degree murder and another six accounts of attempted murder. Huot is ruling how long Bissonnette spends in prison before he is eligible for parole.

The victims were all dual nationals who emigrated to Canada over recent decades: two Algerians, two Guineans, a Moroccan and a Tunisian.

On the other hand, the judge said, Bissonnette had no previous criminal record, he pleaded guilty and he expressed remorse. More than 50 people were at the Islamic Cultural Centre in January 2017 when he began shooting during evening prayers.

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