Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 July 2019

Quebec mosque shooter gets life and no parole for 40 years

Survivors 'astonished' that Alexandre Bissonnette did not receive longer sentence

Alexandre Bissonnette arrives at court in Quebec City last year. Reuters
Alexandre Bissonnette arrives at court in Quebec City last year. Reuters

A Canadian court sentenced a man to life in prison for shooting dead six worshippers at a Quebec City mosque in 2017.

Alexandre Bissonnette, 29, will have to serve 40 years – longer than usual – before he can apply for parole.

Judge Francois Huot rejected a prosecution request on Friday for a 150-year sentence, which would have been the longest in Canada, saying “subjecting a murderer to a sentence that exceeds his life expectancy” would be a cruel and unusual punishment under Canadian law.

But he also noted the killer’s “visceral hatred of Muslim ­immigrants”.

“You killed six of your compatriots whose only crime was to be different than yourself,” Mr Huot said in court.

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

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.

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

As the 246-page verdict was read over six hours, Bissonnette sat quietly in the courtroom, gazing at his feet while his parents and several friends and family of the victims wiped tears from their eyes.

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

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

Updated: February 9, 2019 07:57 PM