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Canadian gets life sentence for killing six in Quebec mosque shooting

10 February 2019

The gunman who opened fire inside a Canadian mosque in 2017, killing six Muslim men, has been sentenced to life in prison without the option of parole for at least 40 years. The defence had argued the sentences should be served concurrently, making him eligible for parole after 25 years.

However, he also noted the killer's "visceral hatred of Muslim immigrants" in his decision.

While underscoring the brutality of the attack, Justice Huot suggested that such a harsh sentence would be excessive by denying the defendant the hope of ever leaving prison.

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

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Justice Huot said Bissonnette's actions in entering the mosque at the end of prayers and shooting congregants was motivated by prejudice.

The Criminal Code was amended in 2011 to allow a judge to impose consecutive sentences in cases of multiple murder, but it was clear as Huot spent almost six hours reading the decision that he was wrestling with the constitutionality of the provision.

Outside the courtroom, Aymen Derbali, who was left quadriplegic in the shooting, said he was "very upset and astonished" that Bissonnette did not get more time.

Before the sentence was handed down, the NCCM said more work needs to be done to address Islamophobia in Canada.

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Witnesses said Bissonnette stormed the mosque during evening prayers on a Sunday and began firing indiscriminately into the crowd of men, women and children. Huot is ruling how long Bissonnette spends in prison before he is eligible for parole.

Alexandre Bissonnette, 29, pleaded guilty last March to six counts of first-degree murder and six of attempted murder.

Crown prosecutors Thomas Jacques (L) and Francois Godin (R) walk before talking to the press in the Quebec City Courthouse following the sentencing of perpetrator Alexandre Bissonnette, on February 8, 2019. Six people were killed and 19 others were injured. Those who were killed were all dual nationals who had emigrated to Canada in recent decades.

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

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The January 2017 shooting, which Prime Minister Justin Trudeau denounced as a "terrorist attack", provoked debate over the treatment of new arrivals at a time when a growing number of migrants crossed from the United States into the province of Quebec.

Canadian gets life sentence for killing six in Quebec mosque shooting