They say the Crown’s request for six consecutive life sentences, which would have prevented their son from seeking parole for 150 years and guaranteed that he end his life behind bars, amounted to circumventing the abolition of the death penalty and would terminate all hope of rehabilitation.
Bissonnette judge’s ‘unusual’ sentencing decision likely to be appealed: experts Why McArthur, Bissonnette and Millard got wildly different sentences for killing multiple people Muslims, immigrants and Trump: Inside the life of Quebec mosque killer Alexandre Bissonnette
“If we really want to prevent such a tragedy from happening again, it seems to me that the solution is not to lock someone up forever, but rather try to better understand and prevent bullying, which is a serious societal problem that continues to make victims among our young,” the letter reads.
“Unlike other countries, Canada has chosen an open-door policy, welcoming people from all over the world and giving them hope for a second chance in life,” the letter says. “Why deny convicts even the faintest hope?”
Raymond Bissonnette, father of Alexandre Bissonnette, who pleaded guilty in the 2017 mosque shooting, reads a statement to media as the shooter’s mother, Manon Marchand, looks on June 21, 2018 at the hall of justice in Quebec City.
Jacques Boissinot/The Canadian Press
However, it has been denounced by survivors of the attack and other Muslim community members.
Boufeldja Benabdallah, president of the mosque that was attacked, said last week that community members were stunned by the decision and felt the judge was more concerned about the dignity of the killer than that of the victims and their families.
Bissonnette pleaded guilty last March to six counts of first-degree murder and six of attempted murder after he walked into the mosque during evening prayers and opened fire. The murder victims were Mamadou Tanou Barry, 42; Abdelkrim Hassane, 41; Khaled Belkacemi, 60; Aboubaker Thabti, 44; Azzeddine Soufiane, 57; and Ibrahima Barry, 39.