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АFP: Quebec mosque shooter gets life, no parole for 40 years

АFP: Quebec mosque shooter gets life, no parole for 40 years”

The man who shot dead six worshippers in a Quebec City mosque in 2017 must serve 40 years in prison before being eligible for parole.

Canadian police officers respond to a shooting in a mosque at the Québec City Islamic cultural center on Sainte-Foy Street in Quebec city on January 29, 2017.

The Crown, which argued during trial that anti-Muslim hatred underpinned the attack, had asked the court to sentence Bissonnette to life in prison without the possibility of parole before 150 years.

The attack at the Quebec Islamic Cultural Centre in the quiet Sainte-Foy neighborhood of Canada's oldest city, he concluded, will go down in Canadian history "written in blood" as one of this country's worst tragedies.

He said the sentence did not fully reflect the severity of the crimes committed.

Justice Francois Huot discarded the prosecution's proposal, however, calling it "unreasonable" and that allowing a prisoner to die in jail would be "cruel and unusual punishment" and contrary to Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

"This was a very serious attack in a place of worship". The defence also said it needs time to study the ruling.

Alexandre Bissonnette, a suspect in a shooting at a Quebec City mosque, arrives at the courthouse in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada, February 21, 2017.

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. Bissonnette's parents were also present.

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

A decision on sentencing was originally expected in October, but Huot pushed that back, saying he needed more information on some legal questions, including the constitutionality of consecutive life sentences. He referred to numerous attacks in Europe as well as the 2014 shooting in Ottawa outside Parliament and said he "lost it" after learning Canada was preparing to take in more refugees.

Several of the survivors and the victims' families had argued for a sentenced that required more than 25 years before parole eligibility, noting the heinous nature of the crime and the lasting trauma it caused for the Muslim community.

Six men were killed and five were seriously injured.

But Renald Beaudry, a criminal lawyer who was at Bissonnette's sentencing, doesn't think the sentence would be easy to overturn.



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