Quebec City mosque shooter sentenced to 40 years before possibility of parole

Alexandre Bissonnette

The man who shot dead six worshippers in a Quebec City mosque in 2017 has been sentenced to serve 40 years in prison before being eligible for parole.

He pleaded guilty last March to six charges of first-degree murder and six of attempted murder.

The attack at the Quebec Islamic Cultural Centre in the quiet Sainte-Foy neighbourhood of Canada's oldest city, he concluded, will go down in Canadian history "written in blood" as one of this country's worst tragedies.

That 150-year sentence would have been the longest ever imposed in Canada and meant that he would die in prison.

One of the man's victim who was paralyzed in the attack, Aymen Derbali, said that numerous survivors were not pleased with the judge's sentencing.

Huot rejected the prosecutor's request, saying it was "unreasonable", and explained that a sentence of more than 50 years would be a cruel and unusual punishment, CTV reported.

In March, Bissonnette admitted to killing Khaled Belkacemi, 60, Azzedine Soufiane, 57, Abdelkrim Hassane, 41, Mamadou Tanou Barry, 42, Aboubaker Thabti, 44, and Ibrahima Barry, 39, in the January attack.

Update: Alexandre Bissonnette has been sentenced to life with no parole for 40 years.

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Before the sentence was handed down, the NCCM said more work needs to be done to address Islamophobia in Canada. The defence also said it needs time to study the ruling.

A 2011 legal change allows Canadian judges to hand down consecutive sentences in the case of multiple murders.

A first-degree murder conviction in Canada carries an automatic life sentence with no chance of parole for 25 years.

The Criminal Code was amended in 2011 to allow a judge to impose consecutive sentences in cases of multiple murder, but it was clear as Huot spent almost six hours reading the decision that he was wrestling with the constitutionality of the provision.

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

Following hearings a year ago, the sentence was expected to be handed down in October, but the judge delayed it to have more time to ponder his decision.

"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.

But Renald Beaudry, a criminal lawyer who was at Bissonnette's sentencing, doesn't think the sentence would be easy to overturn.

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