NZ mosque shooter’s strange jail letter
A SIX-page letter penned in jail by the Australian man accused of the Christchurch mosque shootings has slipped through New Zealand authorities and has gone online.
Brenton Tarrant, 28, wrote the letter in response to correspondence from a person named Alan who is believed to live in Russia.
The letter, in which Tarrant discussed his fondness for Russia, was shared on alt-right messageboard 4chan. New Zealand's Department of Correction's has apologies for its release, admitting they are still learning how to manage the alleged mass murderer.
The 4chan user wrote along with a photo of Tarrant's letter: "A couple of months ago I sent a letter to Brenton Tarrant and today I finally got a response." The image shows an envelope with a stamp that says "Auckland Prison", with the name Brenton Tarrant written above the return address.
In his letter, dated July 4, Tarrant refers to Russia as his "favourite place in the world". He writes about the cities he most enjoyed visiting, and the songs he listened to.
"St Petersburg … is the most beautiful city in Europe, even more so than Porto in Portugal or Prague in Czechia," Tarrant wrote.
He said "the Cossack song 'when we were at war'" was among his favourites.
Tarrant wrote he 'wished' he could visit Russia again but "life isn't all about travelling". The philosophers Plato and Carl Jung are also mentioned, who Tarrant said influenced his social and political views.
Tarrant wrote he was "not doing much at the moment" aside from preparing for his trial, and said he could not go into detail about "regrets" or "feelings" in case his letter was confiscated and used as evidence. He added he had "no concern" about himself, but said he "[worried] for Europe's future".
He concludes: "Enjoy life, but do not forget your duty to your people."
A NZ Department of Corrections spokesperson told News Corp prisoners were allowed to send and receive letters, but admitted Tarrant's latest note should have been stopped.
"Every prisoner has legislatively required minimum entitlements. One of these minimum entitlements is to send and receive mail. In accordance with section 108 of the Act, a Prison Director can only withhold a prisoner's mail in a very limited range of circumstances. Some letters have been withheld.
"On review, we acknowledge that this letter should have been withheld. We have made changes to the management of this prisoner's mail to ensure that our robust processes are as effective as we need them to be."
However, despite the minimum entitlements, NZ Department of Corrections chief executive Christine Stevenson said in a statement any incoming or outgoing mail for Tarrant would now be blocked.
"We have taken swift action to ensure that our processes are as effective as we need them to be. With immediate effect, this prisoner will not be able to send or receive any mail until we have absolute assurance that the process in place for screening and assessing his correspondence upholds the safety of the public, both in New Zealand and internationally," Ms Stevenson said.
"It is a fine balance to uphold our lawful obligations and mitigate all potential risks posed by the prisoner, however we are absolutely committed to ensuring that he has no opportunity to cause harm or distress, either directly or indirectly."
NZ Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis said he had questioned whether current laws suited Tarrant's circumstances.
"We have never had to manage a prisoner like this before," Mr Davis said, according to the NZ Herald.
Mr David said he did not believe Corrections should have allowed the letter to be sent.
"I have made myself clear that this cannot happen again," he said.
Tarrant is accused of carrying out the Christchurch mosque shootings in March that left 51 people dead.
In June, he pleaded not guilty to terrorism as well as 51 murder and 40 attempted murder charges
His trial is set to begin on May 4, 2020.