Canadian gets life sentence for killing six in Quebec mosque shooting

Alexandre Bissonnette

Alexandre Bissonnette, the man responsible for the 2017 Quebec City mosque shooting that left six people dead, has been sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 40 years.

Canadian police officers respond to a shooting in a mosque at the Québec City Islamic cultural center on Sainte-Foy Street in Quebec city on January 29, 2017.

According to CBC, the now 29-year-old Bissonnette will serve an automatic life sentence for shooting and killing the men during a prayer at the Centre Culturel Islamique de Québec on January 29, 2017.

"Charter challenges to the 2011 provisions had previously been denied on the basis that the judge was not forced to increase parole ineligibility for multiple murders", he wrote in an email.

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

While Huot said the attack was motivated by prejudice, he said it did not constitute a terror attack.

"The US Supreme Court would not find a 150-year (term) cruel and unusual punishment", Huot said earlier in the day, but added "punishment should not be vengeance".

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

All 250 seats in the courtroom were filled, with a section reserved for members of Quebec City's Muslim community.

Nonetheless, the judge handed down a sentence of 40 years without parole because he said abiding by the Harper-era law - by sentencing him to 50 years - would violate Bissonnette's constitutional rights, MacKinnon later reported.

As the 246-page verdict was read over a six-hour period, Bissonnette sat quietly in the packed courtroom, gazing at his feet while his parents and several friends and family of the victims wiped tears from their eyes.

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

Huot agreed with the prosecution that Bissonnette's actions were exceptionally callous.

Six men were killed and five injured.

A decision on sentencing was originally expected in October, but Huot pushed that back, saying he needed more information on some legal questions, including the constitutionality of consecutive life sentences.

Prosecutor Thomas Jacques had argued that a 150-year sentence would be proportionate to the "carnage" inflicted on the city's Muslim community and the trauma suffered by the rest of the country.

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