Letter From Alleged Mosque Gunman Appears on 4Chan

'This cannot happen again,' prison minister says
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 14, 2019 4:50 AM CDT
Letter From Alleged Mosque Gunman Appears on 4Chan
In this June 14, 2019 courtroom drawing, Brenton Tarrant, the man accused of killing 51 people at two Christchurch mosques on March 15, 2019, appears via video link at the Christchurch District Court.   (AP Photo/Stephanie McEwin, File)

New Zealand officials admitted Wednesday that they made a mistake by allowing the man accused of killing 51 people at two Christchurch mosques to send a hand-written letter from his prison cell. The six-page letter from Brenton Tarrant was posted this week on the website 4chan, which has become notorious as a place for white supremacists to post their views. And it comes at a sensitive time, with other alleged killers from El Paso to Norway citing Tarrant as an inspiration. The letter appears to be written in pencil on a small notepad and is addressed to "Alan" in Russia. Much of it appears to be relatively innocuous, discussing a one-month trip Tarrant says he took to Russia in 2015. But the letter also warns that a "great conflict" is coming and uses language that could be construed as a call to arms, the AP reports.

Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis said he didn't believe the prison system should have allowed Tarrant to send the letter. "I have made myself clear that this cannot happen again," Davis said. But Davis also said that all New Zealand prisoners have rights that include the ability to send and receive mail, though the system has the ability to withhold correspondence and withheld some other letters Tarrant had attempted to send or receive. "We have never had to manage a prisoner like this before—and I have asked questions around whether our laws are now fit for purpose and asked for advice on what changes we may now need to make," Davis said. In the letter, dated July 4, Tarrant cites Plato and other philosophers and writers as inspiration for his views, and says he "cannot go into any great detail about regrets or feelings as the guards will confiscate my letter if I do" and use it as evidence. (More Brenton Tarrant stories.)

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