A view of the Al Noor Mosque on Deans Avenue in Christchurch, New Zealand. File photo/ Reuters
A New Zealand man was sentenced to 21 months in prison on Tuesday for distributing videos of a massacre at two mosques in the city of Christchurch, media reported.
The lone gunman who killed 51 people in New Zealand’s worst peace-time mass shooting on March 15 broadcast the massacre live on Facebook.
Radio New Zealand said Philip Arps, 44, pleaded guilty to two charges of distributing objectionable material after sharing copies of the livestreamed video with about 30 people.
Arps also shared a video that was modified to add cross-hairs and a body count to the images of the massacre, the broadcaster said.
Christchurch District Court Judge Stephen O’Driscoll said that when Arps was asked for his opinion of the video, he replied it was “awesome”, Radio New Zealand said.
“It is clear from all the material before me that you have strong and unrepentant views towards the Muslim community,” it quoted O’Driscoll as saying during the sentencing.
New Zealand’s government has outlawed the sharing of videos of the massacre, which is punishable by up to 14 years in jail.
A self-described white supremacist, Arps was charged with “offensive behavior” and fined NZ$800 ($543) in 2016 after he delivered a bloodied pig’s head to Al Noor mosque, according to court documents.
The mosque was among the two targeted in the March massacre.
Last week, Australian Brenton Tarrant pleaded not guilty to 92 charges stemming from the massacre in the two mosques and will stand trial in May next year.
Thousands stood in silence in a Christchurch park on Friday as the names of 50 people shot dead in two mosques were read out at a national memorial service, with speakers calling for the legacy of the tragedy to be a kinder, more tolerant New Zealand.
An inquiry into Christchurch’s mosques shooting massacre began hearing evidence on Monday, as New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern prepared to co-host a meeting in France that seeks global support to tackle online violence.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres warned hate speech was spreading online “like wildfire” at a meeting with victims of the Christchurch mosque shootings on Tuesday, vowing the world body will lead efforts to extinguish the problem.
The Cabinet approved the cancellation of the decision regarding the validity of residency visas for expatriates, who are in or outside the country and if their visas expired between March 1 and 31, 2020.
The meeting also discussed the successful efforts exerted by the country to fight COVID-19 pandemic and ways to limit its impact and repercussions in all fields.
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