Letter from alleged Christchurch gunman posted to 4chan

Officials in New Zealand reportedly said they'll review the process for assessing his correspondence.

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Alleged Christchurch gunman Brenton Tarrant will no longer be allowed to send and receive mail after a letter he wrote while in jail was posted this week to 4chan, one of many imageboards that have become destinations for people espousing hateful and extremist views. Tarrant is accused of killing 51 people at two mosques in New Zealand this March, in an attack that was streamed on Facebook Live

New Zealand Corrections chief Christine Stevenson apologized on Wednesday and said Tarrant "will not be able to send or receive any mail until we have absolute assurance that the process in place for screening and assessing his correspondence upholds the safety of the public, both in New Zealand and internationally."

Stevenson added, "It is a fine balance to uphold our lawful obligations and mitigate all potential risks posed by the prisoner, however we are absolutely committed to ensuring that he has no opportunity to cause harm or distress, either directly or indirectly."

A six-page handwritten letter that appears to be from Tarrant was posted by an anonymous user on 4chan this week. The letter, dated July 4, appears to have been sent to someone in Russia.

Imageboards, which long been dark backwaters of the internet, have become the focus of public attention in the wake of a spate of hate-motivated killings. A man who allegedly killed 22 people in an El Paso, Texas, Walmart is believed to have posted a racist manifesto to 8chan, another imageboard, just before the attack. Tarrant was linked to an 87-page white nationalist screed that also appeared on 8chan. 8chan has since been taken offline and its owner, Jim Watkins, has been requested to testify before Congress.

The letter marks the second time this week that 4chan has grabbed headlines. A post on Saturday appeared to provide details of Jeffrey Epstein's death before the first news reports of the disgraced financier's suspected suicide. The 4chan post was published more than a half hour before the initial news reports that Epstein, who was held on charges of sex trafficking, was dead.

4chan administrators didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.
Originally published Aug. 14, 11:08 a.m. PT.
Update, 12:47 p.m.: Adds additional comment from New Zealand corrections chief.  

Watch this: Why AT&T blocked 4Chan