Apology over New Zealand mosque accused's 'hateful' letter - GulfToday

Apology over New Zealand mosque accused's 'hateful' letter


Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison talks with New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in Tuvalu.

Officials in New Zealand apologised Thursday after the alleged Christchurch mosque gunman was allowed to send a letter from prison espousing "hateful" views that a supporter then shared online.

Australian Brenton Tarrant is in a maximum-security jail in Auckland awaiting trial for the murder of 51 Muslim worshippers on March 15 in the worst mass shooting in modern New Zealand history.

Yet despite the government vowing to deny Tarrant a platform to disseminate hate speech, corrections officials revealed he had been allowed to send mail from his prison cell.

One of the letters from the self-avowed white supremacist, addressed to a Russian man named Alan, was posted to the website 4Chan.

Handwritten in block letters, the six-page note discusses a trip Tarrant made to Russia in 2015, his admiration for British fascist Oswald Mosley and his belief "there is a great conflict on the horizon".

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who has vowed never to mention Tarrant by name, was furious the letter had bypassed the correction department's vetting system.

'Fine balance'

Stevenson said Tarrant's mail privileges had been suspended while screening processes were reviewed.

"It is a fine balance to uphold our lawful obligations and mitigate all potential risks posed by the prisoner," she said.

"However, we are absolutely committed to ensuring that he has no opportunity to cause harm or distress, either directly or indirectly."

His case came before the Christchurch High Court on Thursday for a brief hearing on procedural matters, although Tarrant was not required to appear via audio-visual link, as he has previously.

The case was adjourned until October 3, when the court is expected to make a decision on whether to move the trial away from Christchurch.

Agence France-Presse

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