Canadian gets life sentence for killing six in Quebec mosque shooting

Canadian gets life sentence for killing six in Quebec mosque shooting

Canadian gets life sentence for killing six in Quebec mosque shooting

A Quebec Superior Court justice sentenced Bissonnette to life in prison without any possibility of parole for 40 years for killing six men in a Quebec City mosque.

Several people in the Quebec City courtroom wept as the judge read a detailed account of the shooter's actions on the night of the crime.

On the evening of 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.

Alexandre Bissonnette, 29, pleaded guilty previous year to six counts of first-degree murder and six counts of attempted murder for the attack, one of Canada's rare mass shootings. The defence argued the sentences should be served concurrently, which would have made him eligible for parole after 25 years.

The longest prison sentence in Canada to date is 75 years without parole, which has been given to at least five triple killers since the law was changed in 2011 to allow consecutive sentences.

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But other judges have rejected calls for consecutive sentences, including the Toronto judge who on Friday sentenced Bruce McArthur to life in prison with no parole for 25 years for murdering eight men with ties to Toronto's gay village.

The judge read out segments of his 246-page decision as a packed courtroom sat for six hours.

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 also told a psychiatrist that he regretted not killing more people.

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

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At the start of his trial in 2017, he said he had been suicidal, "swept away by fear and by terrible despair", and deeply regretted his "unforgivable" actions.

The January 2017 shooting, which Prime Minister Justin Trudeau denounced as a "terrorist attack", provoked debate over the treatment of new arrivals at a time when a growing number of migrants crossed from the United States into the province of Quebec. "I am not a terrorist, I am not an Islamophobe".

Bissonnette's lawyers had argued that if he was sentenced to 25 years consecutively for each murder it would amount to death by incarceration.

"His crimes were truly motivated by race and a visceral hatred toward Muslim immigrants", the judge said, adding that his crimes were "premeditated, gratuitous and abject".

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