The bodies of those killed in the deadly shootings at two mosques in Christchurch will begin to be returned to relatives from Sunday night, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has said.
The expectation was that all bodies would be returned by Wednesday, she added.
Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel said earlier that council staff has been working on preparing grave sites so burials can occur as soon as possible, in line with the requirements and sensitivities of the Islamic religion.
Adern also confirmed that her office received a manifesto sent by the man suspected of slaying 50 people and injuring the same number on Friday just nine minutes before the first attack began.
“The email contained his manifesto, but no details of the attacks or even their location in New Zealand.” she said.
The staff member in the prime minister’s office responsible for checking that email sent the email to Parliament Security marked urgent within two minutes. Ardern’s office earlier confirmed that the email was also sent to a large number of news media outlets and other politicians.
The 28-year-old Australian who was charged with murder on Saturday would not be extradited to his home country, Ardern said.
“He will certainly face the justice system of New Zealand for the terrorist attack he has committed here,” she said.
Ardern’s cabinet would start discussing possible changes to New Zealand’s gun laws. “We cannot be deterred from the work that we need to do on our gun laws,” she added.
A delegation from the Turkish government including Vice President Fuat Oktay and Foreign Affairs Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu will arrive in Christchurch on Monday.
“They will meet members of the Muslim community, take an opportunity to lay flowers and wreaths and meet government representatives,” New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters said in a statement.
On Sunday afternoon there were still 34 patients who were injured in the attack in Christchurch Hospital, including 12 who were still in intensive care in a critical condition, the chief executive of Canterbury District Health Board said.
Among the injured was also a 4-year-old girl who was taken to Auckland’s Starship Children’s Hospital in a critical condition.
Police Commissioner Mike Bush said earlier the suspect was the only person charged in the connection with the attack.