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Christchurch teen arrested for inciting ethnic hatred

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Pacific | March 16, 2019 9:42:16 AM IST
A 18-year-old Christchurch teenager was arrested on Saturday on charges of inciting racial or ethnic hatred.

However, it is not clear whether the arrest was linked to Friday's terror attacks at two mosques in the city.

The teenager was charged under New Zealand's Human Rights Act legislation. He is expected to appear at Christchurch District Court on March 18, reports New Zealand Herald.

The teenager is accused of having an intent to "excite hostility or ill-will against" against people in New Zealand on grounds of "colour, race, ethnic or national origins" by the publishing or "written material which is insulting", according to a court document.

The charge carries a maximum fine of NZ$ 7,000.

In the worst ever terror attack in New Zealand, multiple gunmen carried out indiscriminate shootings at two mosques in Christchurch during the Friday prayers, leaving 49 people dead and at least 48 wounded, besides giving a scare to the Bangladesh cricket team which had a narrow escape.

Using automatic weapons, the gunmen, four of who were initially taken into custody, launched a "well-planned" attack on the mosques when devotees had assembled for the weekly prayers.

A 28-year-old suspect, identified as Brenton Harrison Tarrant appeared before the court on Saturday on murder charges connected with Friday's terror attacks in Christchurch, which left at least 49 people dead. He was remanded in custody without plea until April 5.

The terror attack suspect, who live-streamed for about 17 minutes his rampage through two mosques here, is an Australian-born citizen and is a resident of Dunedin, situated around 360 km south of Christchurch.

Earlier today, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern vowed that gun laws "will change" in the wake of the worst terror attacks in the country's history. She confirmed that the fourth person was released.

"The fourth person who was arrested yesterday was a member of the public who was in a possession of a firearm, but with the intention of assisting police," she told reporters in Wellington.

According to the police, 41 people were killed at Al Noor mosque and seven at Linwood mosque while one injured died in a hospital.

Several guns have been recovered from both mosques, while, two explosive devices were found on two vehicles at the scene, one of which was defused, the police confirmed.

Ardern, her cabinet ministers and opposition leader Simon Bridges flew to Christchurch from Wellington today morning in the wake of the terror attacks.

Upon her arrival, Ardern visited the Canterbury Refugees Centre, where she interacted with Muslim community leaders who were expressing their concerns about finding a place of worship after all mosques in the city were shut down in the wake of the shootings, according to New Zealand Herald.

She assured the group that local council leaders were working tirelessly to provide alternative and safe places for worship, adding that security was beefed up to ensure safety. (ANI)

 
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