Published: Sun, February 10, 2019
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Canadian gets life sentence for killing six Muslims in Quebec mosque attack

Canadian gets life sentence for killing six Muslims in Quebec mosque attack

A man who opened fire at a Quebec City mosque, killing six people in 2017, has been sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 40 years.

Shortly after his arrest, Bissonnette told police that the attack was motivated by immigration in Canada.

However, that minimum sentence of life in prison with no parole for 25 years is exactly what the defence is calling for.

Outside the courtroom, Aymen Derbali, who was left quadriplegic after the shooting, said he was "very upset and astonished" that Bissonnette did not get more time.

The justice said that in the years leading up to the shooting, Bissonnette increasingly drank alcohol and experienced anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts.

Quebec Superior Court Justice Francois Huot called Alexandre Bissonnette's attack gratuitous and insidious as he handed down the sentence Friday.

In 2011, Canadian law was amended to allow judges to impose consecutive sentences instead of concurrent 10- or 25-year sentences with no parole eligibility, for multiple murders.


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.

Silver agreed that the Bissonnette sentencing is also likely to be appealed, and she believes that's a good thing.

Six men were killed and five were seriously injured. More than 50 people were at the Islamic Cultural Centre in January 2017 when he began shooting during evening prayers. The sixth attempted murder charge related to others who were nearby in the mosque.

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.

"No matter the outcome of today's decision, nothing can diminish the incredible support & solidarity felt by many Canadian Muslims in the wake of the attack, and during the past 2 years", the group said on Twitter.

Huot concluded that consecutive sentences were "unreasonable" and that sending a criminal to die in prison would go against Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms, according to the report.

But Bissonnette's lawyer, Charles-Olivier Gosselin, portrayed his client as an anxious and fragile man who deeply regrets his actions and is not beyond rehabilitation.

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