A New Zealand court sentenced a business owner to 21 months in prison for sharing a livestreamed Facebook video showing the horrific massacre that left 51 Muslim worshippers dead in Christchurch in March.
What are the details?
Philip Arps, 44, received his fate from a Christchurch District Court on Tuesday after pleading guilty to two charges of distributing objectionable material. CNN reported that Arps sent the footage to roughly 30 people after New Zealand’s Office of Film and Literature had classified the video as objectionable.
In New Zealand, distributing material deemed objectionable by the government is a criminal offense and can land a person behind bars for up to 14 years.
According to Radio New Zealand, Arps didn’t just forward the clip along to his buddies. “He also asked an unknown person to add cross-hairs and a body count to the video to ‘make it more fun,'” the outlet said.
The judge in the case said Arps had described the footage as “awesome” and had compared himself to Rudolph Hess, Adolf Hitler’s right-hand man.
Judge Stephen O’Driscoll told the defendant, “Your offending glorifies and encourages the mass murder carried out under the pretext of religious and racial hatred. It is clear from all the material before me that you have strong and unrepentant views towards the Muslim community.”
O’Driscoll added, “Your actions in distributing the day after the attack, when families were still waiting to hear whether family members had been killed, demonstrates particular cruelty on your part and callousness on your part.”
Arps was put on authorities’ radar immediately following the Christchurch attack over accusations that his company, Beneficial Insulation, was “Nazi-themed.” New Zealand news site Stuff reported that the firm had been flagged by Google years prior for allegedly used several Nazi symbols in its advertising.
Facebook also came under fire for not having adequate mechanisms in place for swiftly removing all footage of the attack from its platform. Two months after the incident, the company responded by imposing a “one strike” policy for users who violate its terms of service regarding livestreaming.