Breivik ruled sane, given 21 years in prison
Norwegian gunman Anders Behring Breivik (C) gives a right-wing salute as he arrives at the court room in Oslo Courthouse, before the court reached its verdict. EPA photoAn Oslo court on Aug. 24 found Anders Behring Breivik, 33, guilty of “acts of terror” and sentenced him to 21 years in prison for his killing spree last year that left 77 people dead. Breivik smiled as the verdict was read out in court.
The five judges unanimously found Breivik sane, a verdict in line with what the far-right extremist himself wanted, bringing to an end a spectacular trial for the attacks that traumatized normally tranquil Norway and shocked the world. “The ruling is unanimous,” Agence France-Presse quoted presiding judge Wenche Elizabeth Arntzen as saying. “He is sentenced to prison for 21 years, with a minimum of 10 years,” she added.
Oslo district court convicted Breivik of terrorism and premeditated murder. They imposed a sentence of “preventive detention,” a special prison term for criminals considered dangerous to society. Prosecutors have not said if they would appeal, according to The Associated Press.
Norway’s penal code does not have the death penalty or life in prison, and the maximum prison term for Breivik’s charges is 21 years. However, such sentences can be extended as long as an inmate is considered too dangerous to be released. Legal experts have said that in Breivik’s case that could mean he will spend the rest of his life in prison.
Some who lost loved ones in the attacks welcomed the ruling. “Now we won’t hear about him for quite a while. Now we can have peace and quiet,” Per Balch Soerensen, whose daughter was shot and killed by Breivik, told Denmark’s TV2.
Breivik wanted to be found sane
Breivik confessed to the attacks during the trial, describing in gruesome detail how he detonated a car bomb at the government headquarters in Oslo and then opened fire at the annual summer camp of the governing Labor Party’s youth wing. Eight people were killed and more than 200 injured by the explosion. 69 people, mostly teenagers, were killed in the massacre on Utoya island. Breivik, who made a right-wing salute in court, seeing himself as a Nordic warrior against Europe’s “Muslim invasion” and against all those who promote multiculturalism.
During the trial, Breivik said that being sent to an insane asylum would be the worst thing that could happen to him and accused Norwegian authorities of trying to cast him as sick to deflate his political views.
Breivik has previously said he would not appeal a prison sentence, as he wanted to be found sane. His lawyers said Breivik is already at work writing sequels to the 1,500-page manifesto he released on the Internet before the attacks.