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The perpetrator of the knife attack in New Zealand had been under police surveillance since his release in July. After three years in prison, “all possibilities of further detention have been exhausted,” New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Saturday.
The man responsible for a knife attack on Friday, September 2, at a supermarket in New Zealand had been monitored for five years and jailed for three years before authorities exhausted all avenues to keep him in detention, said New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern revealed on Saturday.
The man, inspired by the jihadist group Islamic State, was released in July and has been under police surveillance since. The 32-year-old Sri Lankan took a knife from an Auckland supermarket on Friday and attacked seven people, three of whom were seriously injured, before being shot dead by the police tasked with following him.
Jacinda Ardern said she could not reveal everything about the man due to a past court ruling banning the publication of information about him. The man, who arrived in New Zealand on a student visa in 2011, caught the attention of the police in 2016 after expressing his sympathy for jihadist attacks on Facebook.
Already suspected of wanting to commit an attack in 2018
He was arrested in 2018 for possession of a knife and other objectionable equipment and was considered a “lone wolf” planning a knife attack. While in detention, he was accused of assaulting guards, but attempts to have him charged under the anti-terrorism law failed.
Although the man had been found guilty of certain charges, he had already spent three years in pre-trial detention and “all possibilities of further detention had been exhausted,” Jacinda Ardern said, although “measures of ‘risk mitigation was already underway.’
She added that changes to anti-terrorism legislation are expected to be approved by parliament before the end of the month. According to Police Commissioner Andrew Coster, there was nothing unusual about the man’s actions before the attack and he appeared to shop normally.
He added that the police had kept their distance because the man had a “high level of paranoia” about his surveillance, and it took more than two minutes to reach and shoot him after he was killed. started frantically stabbing customers.
New Zealand had “no legal reason to keep him in detention”
“We had no legal reason to keep him in custody. The follow-up of his actions was entirely dependent on the ability of the surveillance teams to maintain their coverage as they observed him over an extended period of time,” Andrew said. Coster.
For its part, Sri Lanka has indicated its readiness to cooperate with the investigation. “Sri Lanka condemns this senseless violence and stands ready to cooperate with the New Zealand authorities in any way necessary,” said Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry spokesman Kohularangan Ratnasingam on Saturday, praising the speed of the police response. .
The Sri Lankan Muslim Council denounced a “barbaric act of terrorism”. “It reminds us all to come together and be united against terrorism and violent extremism locally and internationally, for the good of all,” Council member Mohamed Hisham told AFP.