Published: Sun, February 10, 2019

Gunman in Quebec mosque shooting sentenced to life in prison

Gunman in Quebec mosque shooting sentenced to life in prison

A Canadian judge has sentenced a man accused of killing six men at a Quebec City mosque to life in prison with no chance for parole for 40 years.

"I hope that justice will be served and the sentence will reflect the crime that was committed", said Huot, La Presse Canadienne reported.

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

Boufeldja Benabdallah, president of the mosque that was attacked, said community members were "stunned" by the decision and felt the judge was more concerned about the dignity of the killer than that of the victims and their families. The defence argued the sentences should be served concurrently, which would have made him eligible for parole after 25 years.

"It's very hard, I would imagine, to really find true closure on a day like today", she said, adding that people's hearts were with the families of the victims and the entire Quebec City mosque community.

A university student at the time of the shooting, Bissonnette appeared to have been seduced by nationalist and supremacist ideologies into committing this "unjustified and deadly" massacre that sought to "undermine our fundamental societal values", the judge said.

Quebec Superior Court Justice Francois Huot called Alexandre Bissonnette's attack gratuitous and insidious as he handed down the sentence today.

In 2011, Canadian law was amended to allow judges to impose consecutive sentences instead of concurrent 10- or 25-year sentences with no parole eligibility, for multiple murders.

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

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

At the start of his trial in 2017, he said he had been suicidal, "swept away by fear and by awful despair", and deeply regretted his "unforgivable" actions. More than 50 people were at the Islamic Cultural Centre in January 2017 when he began shooting during evening prayers.

Six men were killed and five injured.

In pleading guilty, Bissonnette expressed shame and remorse for his actions but offered no clear explanation of why he did it.

He told police investigators that he believed a terrorist attack was imminent and felt he "had to do something". He painted Bissonnette as a calculated killer who was "looking for glory" and targeted a group of people based on bigotry and hatred.

Bissonnette's lawyers had argued that if he was sentenced to 25 years consecutively for each murder it would amount to death by incarceration.

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