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Gunman in Quebec mosque shooting sentenced to life in prison

Gunman in Quebec mosque shooting sentenced to life in prison

A Canadian man who killed worshippers in a Quebec City mosque in 2017 has been sentenced to life in prison.

"We need to remember that sentencing is individual, it takes in a number of factors, and those include the circumstances of the crime, the severity, the impact on the community, but it also has to reference the circumstances and background of the offender", she said.

As he read out portions of his 246-page ruling over several hours, Huot said the attack was a hate crime motivated by a "visceral hatred for immigrants who are Muslim", local reporters said from the courtroom.

On January 29, 2017, Bissonnette burst into the Quebec City mosque and unleashed a hail of bullets on the 40 men and four children who were chatting among themselves after evening prayers.

The convict identified as Alexandre Bissonnette, 29, pleaded guilty to six counts of first degree murder and six counts of attempted murder for the attack, but he will however be eligible for parole after 40 years.

The prosecution had recommended that his six life sentences be served consecutively, which would have meant 150 years before being eligible for parole.

In a decision that took almost six hours to read, Huot said a sentence of 50 years or more would constitute cruel and unusual punishment.

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.

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This was a Reuters error as the judge was still reading his judgment.

Abdelkrim Hassane, 41; Khaled Belkacemi, 60; Aboubaker Thabti, 44; Azzeddine Soufiane, 57; and Ibrahima Barry, 39, were all shot in the place of worship. Bissonnette's parents were also present.

On the other hand, the judge said, Bissonnette had no previous criminal record, he pleaded guilty and he expressed remorse.

Witnesses at the time described the former Universite Laval student entering the Islamic Cultural Centre and calmly opening fire on the crowd gathered for evening prayers.

Six men were killed and five were seriously injured.

But in a police interrogation, Bissonnette told investigators he wanted to protect his family from terrorists when he committed the killings.

He called the shooting attack premeditated, gratuitous and insidious.

Under Canadian law, Bissonnette could have gone to prison for 150 years or 25 years for each of the six deaths.


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