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A total of 49 people were killed in the mosque attacks on Friday. The massacre has stunned residents, not just because it happen
ed there but also because it was planned to show the world that even the most peaceful places are not immune to terror.
Australian citizen Brenton Tarrant, 28, has been charged with one count of murder. Two other peo
ple remain in police custody. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern described it as “one of New Zealand’s darkest days.”
Khan wasn’t the only member of his family touched by the shootings. A few blocks away
, at the Al Noor mosque, Khan’s uncle is believed to be one of 41 people gunned down there while praying.
On Saturday, families waited patiently as officials worked to identify bodies. Yet while confirmation will bring some closure, questio
ns will linger as to how such a horrifying event can happen in a country many consider safe.
”We felt it was such a safe city, such a safe country,” a 30-year-
old construction project manager, who did not want to be named, told CNN. “The hatred has spread everywhere.”
wake of the Christchurch tragedy, laying flowers and messages of support on the side of Hagley Park, close to the Al Noor mosque.
A makeshift memorial grew in the center of the main street, below traffic lights that flashed orange to indicate roads leading to the mosque were closed.
No one was allowed to approach the building, not even local home owner Sue Harrison, whose c
ar was still parked in the driveway of her property behind the Deans Avenue mosque.
Christchurch resident Sue Harrison heard the gunshots from her house, near to the Al
Noor mosque, and called the police. Her son Zin (right) called her to check she was alright.
She remembers listening to the soothing chant of afternoo
n prayers when it was broken by gunshots. Harrison called the police and hid inside her
house as the gunman worked his way through the mosque, shooting as many people as he could.
”The time the shots were happening, it was terrifying, absolutely terrifying,” Har
rison said. “There was almost an immediate feeling that they’re being targeted.”
en’s rights and speaking out against the death penalty — it is utterly outrageous that Ir
an’s authorities are punishing her for her human rights work,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty Int
ernational’s Middle East and North Africa research and advocacy director, in a statement on Monday.
Last June, Sotoudeh was arrested at her home in Tehran and taken to Evin prison, a notorious jail just outside the capital.
According to Amnesty International, Iran conducted its “worst” crackdown in a decade in 2018, arresting over 7,000 dissidents.
Women in Iran have been protesting the obligatory Islamic headscarf by taking theirs off and waving them on sticks.
Sotoudeh, a winner of the European Parliament‘s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, is serving a jail sentence for a secon
d time. In 2010, she was sentenced to 11 years in prison on charges related to her work defending detained Iranian dem
onstrators during the 2009 Green Movement, a protest movement sparked by widespread accusations of electoral fraud.