New Zealand shooting suspect 'complains about prison treatment'

Brenton Tarrant says he has been denied access to phone calls or visitors

New Zealand observes week-anniversary after Christchurch terror attack

The man accused of shooting dead 50 people at two mosques in New Zealand has made a formal complaint about his treatment in prison, according to reports.

Brenton Tarrant, 28, is being held in isolation at the maximum security Auckland Prison in Paremoremo following the terror attacks in Christchurch two weeks ago.

The country’s Department of Corrections confirmed to media in New Zealand that Mr Tarrant has no TV, radio or newspapers and no approved visitors.

It refused to comment on details of Mr Tarrant’s claims but the Stuff news website quoted a source saying the alleged gunman had complained about lack of access to phone calls and visitors.

“He’s under constant observation and isolation,” said the source. “He doesn’t get the usual minimum entitlements. So no phone calls and no visits.”

Mr Tarrant has his own yard – which is the same size as his cell – and is allowed to use it for one hour every day, according to the source.

Under the law inmates have a “minimum entitlement” to three meals a day, drink, exercise and sufficient bedding for “warmth, health and reasonable comfort”.

Prisoners are also allowed to receive at least one private visitor for a minimum of 30 minutes each week and at least one outgoing telephone call of up to five minutes each week.

However, the Corrections Act 2004 also states that these entitlements can be withheld “if there is an emergency in the prison or the security of the prison is threatened or if the health or safety of any person is threatened”.

A government spokesperson said: “He is being managed in accordance with the provisions set out in the Corrections Act 2004 and our international obligations for the treatment of prisoners.

“For operational security reasons, no further information will be provided.”

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Last week, the Department of Corrections rejected reports that Mr Tarrant was only being guarded by white prison officers.

Mr Tarrant has been charged with one murder in relation to the Christchurch attacks. He was remanded in custody without a plea and is expected to face further charges when he returns to court on 5 April.

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