US & Canada

Suspected Quebec City mosque shooter pleads not guilty

Alexandre Bissonnette Image copyright Handout
Image caption Alexandre Bissonnette

A Canadian man accused of killing six Muslim worshippers at a mosque in Quebec City in 2017 has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Alexandre Bissonnette, 28, faces six counts of first-degree murder and six of attempted murder for the 29 January attack.

A gunman stormed into the Quebec Islamic Cultural Centre that night and shot at those gathered for prayers.

Mr Bissonnette entered the pleas days before his trial is slated to begin.

His trial will take place before a judge and jury in a Quebec City courthouse.

Jury selection is expected to begin 3 April, according to the Canadian Press wire service.

Killed in the January 2017 attack were Khaled Belkacemi, 60, Azzedine Soufiane, 57, Abdelkrim Hassane, 41, Mamadou Tanou Barry, 42, Aboubaker Thabti, 44, and Ibrahima Barry, 39.

Five people were also seriously injured in the Sunday night shooting, accounting for five of the attempted murder charges.

In October, the Crown added a sixth charge of attempted murder against the accused to collectively include the 35 witnesses in the mosque during the shooting.

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionAymen Derbali faces a new life after being paralysed in a 2017 Quebec mosque shooting

Mr Bissonnette's parents, who had not spoken publicly since the shooting, broke their year-long silence in January.

In a letter published by the French-language public broadcaster Radio-Canada, they said their lives were "upended" by the "inexcusable" shooting.

They said they had personally expressed their condolences in a personal letter to the survivors and victims' families.

"Alexandre is still our son, whom we love and who will always be a part of our family. Like all parents, we hoped to see him succeed and be happy in life. In a way, we also lost a son," they wrote.

Related Topics

More on this story