Jacinda Ardern seeks advice on deportation options for accused Brenton Tarrant

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is seeking advice on any possible deportation of the man accused of the mosque shootings.

Brenton Tarrant, 28, is Australian and had been living in Dunedin until his alleged killing spree at two Christchurch mosques on Friday.

Ms Ardern was asked by reporters whether Tarrant was likely to be deported to Australia.

“I don’t want to go to far down that track while we’re obviously in early stages. Charges have been laid, we can expect additional charges, he’ll be appearing in the High Court on the 5th of April, so there’s obviously a process that needs to be gone through here.

“But I can say I am seeking advice on what will happen thereafter.”

Asked today whether Ms Ardern was referring to deportation before a sentence was served or after, a spokesman said she was looking at the issue in its entirety and getting advice on all options.

Tarrant did not require a visa to enter New Zealand because as an Australian he was able to enter the country and live here without one.

Immigration New Zealand, which said it could not comment specifically on Tarrant, said Australians were subject to the same deportation liability as any other visitor.

media_cameraBrenton Tarrant, the man charged in relation to the Christchurch massacre, makes a sign to the camera during his appearance in the Christchurch District Court Picture: Mark Mitchell / AFP

Ms Ardern would not say how long Tarrant had been to New Zealand but said he had visited “sporadically”.

At present Tarrant is charged with one count of murder under the Crimes Act.

Ms Ardern confirmed Tarrant will be prosecuted in New Zealand.

The Prime Minister also confirmed her office received his manifesto minutes before the attack on Friday.

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Meanwhile, relatives of the accused are devastated their own could partake in a massacre.

Brenton Tarrant’s grandmother, Marie Fitzgerald, said the family was gobsmacked he’d been charged with murdering Muslims at mosques in Christchurch.

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media_cameraMarie Fitzgerald, grandmother of accused gunman Brenton Tarrant. Picture: Twitter/Nine

“It’s just so much of everything to take in that somebody in our family would do anything like this,” the 81-year-old woman told Nine in the NSW city of Grafton on Sunday.

“The media is saying he has planned it for a long time so he is obviously not of sound mind.” Tarrant reportedly went to Europe after his father died of cancer in 2010 and came back a different man, Mrs Fitzgerald said.

“It’s only since he travelled overseas I think, that that boy has changed completely to the boy we knew,” she said.

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His uncle Terry Fitzgerald apologised on behalf of the family for his nephew’s alleged murderous act.

“We are so sorry for the families over there, for the dead and the injured,” Terry Fitzgerald said.

“What he has done is just not right.” Tarrant spent most of his time on computer games during his high school days rather than chasing girls, his grandmother added.

The family had dinner with Tarrant 12 months ago for his sister’s birthday in Grafton.

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media_cameraAlex Cullen’s interview with Brenton Tarrant’s family on Sunday Night on Seven. Picture: Twitter/Sunday Night

His sister and mother have been put under police protection after Friday’s attack.

Islamic Council of Victoria spokesman Adel Salman turned his thoughts to the many victims of Friday’s attack including the alleged gunman’s relatives.

“It is a horrendous massacre and has many many victims … even the family of the alleged killer. My heart goes out to them as well,” he told AAP.

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  • A total of 50 people are confirmed dead. Health officials say 39 people remain in hospital, with 11 critical in intensive care. The youngest victim is two. One child, aged four, has been transferred to Starship children’s hospital in Auckland.
  • Police allege Tarrant travelled between the Al Noor Mosque beside Hagley Park in central Christchurch and Linwood Mosque some five kilometres away within seven minutes.
  • The Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern confirmed hers was one of 70 email addresses sent a manifesto from the alleged gunman nine minutes before the attack took place.
  • Within six minutes, armed police staff were on the scene.
  • After just 36 minutes dozens were dead and injured.
media_cameraFriends and family of the victims wait near the hospital. Picture: Fiona Goodall
media_cameraWellington Vigil held at the Basin Reserve. Picture: Elias Rodriguez/Getty Images
  • Tarrant was caught on Brougham St, dragged from a car by two police officers, and taken into custody.
  • Two others arrested during the chaos of the shooting aftermath – one of those has been released and the other has been charged with firearms offences. They are not believed to have been involved in the attacks on the two mosques.
  • Tarrant had allegedly been living in Dunedin for two years, spending much of his time travelling overseas. He was not on any watch lists in New Zealand or Australia.
  • Police said five guns were used in the attacks, with two semi-automatic weapons, two shotguns, and a lever action firearm recovered from the scenes.
  • Ardern said Tarrant acquired a gun licence in November 2017.
media_cameraPolice guard Deans Rd as evidence gathering continues at the Al Noor mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand. Picture: Fiona Goodall/Getty Images

West Australian Imam Yahya Ibrahim also prayed for the families of the innocent victims killed on Friday’s attack, and the gunman’s relatives.

“May his family find comfort in the fact that as a Muslim, as Muslims I speak on behalf of my community, that our heart is open to them,” he said in Perth on Sunday.

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“I don’t blame them, but I blame the actions of that one individual, as I would expect in reflection when someone does an atrocity that is falsely attributed in my name and in my community.”

media_cameraFlower are left at the Al Noor mosque March 17, 2019 in Christchurch, New Zealand. Picture: Fiona Goodall/Getty Images

Pakistan will observe a day of mourning on Monday for victims of the New Zealand mosque attacks and honour a man who died after trying to tackle the gunman. Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said on Sunday that flags would fly at half-mast. He praised Naeem Rashid, saying he showed courage in trying to take down the attacker and would be honoured at a Pakistan Day function on March 23. Nine Pakistanis were among the 50 people killed when an immigrant-hating white nationalist opened fire at two mosques in Christchurch during Friday prayers. Qureshi said foreign ministers from members of the 57-nation Organization of Islamic Cooperation would meet in Istanbul next week to discuss ways of addressing anti-Islam sentiment.

media_cameraRizwan Rashid, brother of Pakistani national Naeem Rashid, who was killed in the attacks to the Christchurch mosques in New Zealand, shows his family picture at Naeem’s house in Abbottabad. Picture: Farooq Naeem / AFP

Pakistan’s foreign ministry spokesman says three more Pakistanis have been identified among those killed in the attacks on two mosques in New Zealand. That brings the number of Pakistanis killed to nine.

Among them were Sohail Shahid, Syed Jahandad Ali, Syed Areeb Ahmed, Mahboob Haroon, Naeem Rashid and his son Talha Naeem. Rashid and Naeem gave their lives attempting to snatch the attacker’s gun.

Spokesman Mohammad Faisal in his latest tweet on Sunday said Zeeshan Raza, his father Ghulam Hussain and mother Karam Bibi are now confirmed to have been killed in the terrorist attack in Christchurch.

media_cameraWorkmen are seen digging a series of graves at the Memorial Park Cemetery in Christchurch. Picture: AAP/Mick Tsikas

A fund send up to help the families of victims killed in the mosque attacks along with those who suffered injuries has raised over $NZ4.3 million ($4.15 million).

The page on the site givealittle was created by a council of victim support groups. The council said it had been overwhelmed with the number of donations, which were more than it thought possible, and it would need to create a formal process to distribute the money.

The group said all the money would go directly to victims and their families, and that some would need it for bills, while others might need it for support services.

media_cameraPrime Minister Jacinda Ardern hugs a mosque-goer at the Kilbirnie Mosque on March 17, 2019 in Wellington, New Zealand. Picture: Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says the bodies of the 50 people killed in Friday’s mosque attacks were slowly being released to family members.

Ardern says only a small number of bodies will be released initially, and that authorities hope to release all the bodies by Wednesday.

Islamic law calls for bodies to be cleansed and buried as soon as possible after death, usually within 24 hours.

Anguished relatives have been anxiously waiting for authorities to release the remains.

Police Commissioner Mike Bush says they are working as quickly as they can, but authorities have to be absolutely clear on the causes of death and confirm identities before they can release bodies.

Jacinda Ardern reiterated her promise that there will be changes to the country’s gun laws in the wake of a terrorist attack on two mosques and said her Cabinet will discuss the policy details on Monday. At a Sunday news conference, Arden used some of her strongest language yet about gun control, saying that laws need to change and “they will change.”

New Zealand has fewer restrictions on rifles or shotguns than many countries, while handguns are more tightly controlled.

Ardern declined to discuss more details until she’d talked to her Cabinet, the group of top lawmakers that guides policies.

media_cameraA Muslim family stands across the road from the Dean Street mosque when worshippers were gunned down in Christchurch on March 17, 2019, two days after a shooting incident at two mosques in the city. Picture: Marty Melville / AFP

New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush said that two people arrested around the time suspect Brenton Harrison Tarrant was apprehended are not believed to have been involved in the attacks on two mosques last Friday.

He says one of those people has been released and the other has been charged with firearms offences.

media_cameraNew Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern gives a press conference from Wellington. Picture: TVNZ via AP

Facebook has removed 1.5 million videos of the Christchurch mosque shootings “in the first 24 hours” after the attack, the social media giant says.

“We continue to work around the clock to remove violating content using a combination of technology and people,” Facebook New Zealand’s Mia Garlick said on Twitter on Sunday.

Garlick said that, of the removed videos, 1.2 million were “blocked at upload.”

“Out of respect for the people affected by this tragedy and the concerns of local authorities, we’re also removing all edited versions of the video that do not show graphic content,” she said.

Copies of the distressing 17-minute live stream circulated online for hours after the twin attacks that killed 50 people.

Hours after the attack, New Zealand police said they were working to have the footage removed while urging people not to share it.

Later on Friday, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern echoed the police’s call, saying that citizens “should not be perpetuating, sharing, giving any oxygen to this act of violence and the message that is sitting behind it.”

The live-stream video shows a white man in camouflage and black clothing driving to what appears to be the Al Noor Mosque on Deans Avenue in Christchurch. There is nationalist Serbian music playing in the car, and multiple rapid-fire weapons can be seen in the passenger seat. The guns have writing on them, including one featuring the name “Ebba Akerlund,” an 11-year-old girl who was killed in a 2017 terrorist attack in Sweden.

After entering the mosque, the man appears to shoot at least two dozen men in the building as well as at least two people in the street. The video is filmed in the style of a first-person shooter computer game.

He returns to the car to retrieve more weapons and then re-enters the mosque. The video ends with the shooter driving away from the crime scene at full speed and shooting out of the window of his car.

The proliferation of this footage online is dangerous due to the risk of copycat killings, according to Alexander Gillespie, a professor of international law at New Zealand’s University of Waikato.

with NZ Herald, AAP, AP and wires

Originally published as NZ PM seeks advice on deportation

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