Brenton Tarrant, who was accused of killing 51 people in New Zealand’s Christchurch mosques attack has been charged with terrorism, police have said.
The Australian was charged with “engaging in a terrorist act”, police said in a statement on May 21.
Brenton Tarrant is already facing charges of murder and 40 of attempted murder following the 15th of March attack on two mosques in the South Island city.
He is next due in court in June.
It is the first time a person has been charged in New Zealand with an act of terror under this law.
New Zealand Police – who met with victims’ families and other survivors to inform them of the charge before it was announced – said they consulted with legal experts and prosecutors before deciding to lay the additional charge.
On March 15, 50 people lost their lives in the shootings at two mosques in Christchurch. One died in hospital later.
The Christchurch attack was New Zealand’s deadliest mass shooting and brought an outpouring grief and support for the victims and their families.
Two weeks after the attack, more than 20,000 people gathered for a memorial service to honor those who lost their lives.
Last month, New Zealand’s parliament voted to ban military-style semi-automatic weapons to prevent any such thing happening again.
New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is spearheading an effort to get world’s governments and tech companies to improve their efforts to tackle extremist content online.
The “Christchurch Call” was launched in response to the suspect live-streaming the attack, which was then watched many thousands of times.
The call has already been backed by Australia, India, Germany and Sweden, as well as tech giants Google, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft and Twitter. However, the US declined to take part.