EUROPE > Norway’s envoy defends no Breivik death sentence

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News

Norwegian mass killer Anders Breivik’s penalty of 21 years shows the functionality of the legal system, says the country’s ambassador to Turkey, in an indirect response to the Turkish PM

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Breivik (R) makes a gesture as he arrives at the court in Oslo, Norway in this April photo. He was charged with terrorism and murder, in connection with a 2011 bombing and shooting rampage that claimed 77 lives in Oslo and on a nearby island. EPA photo

Breivik (R) makes a gesture as he arrives at the court in Oslo, Norway in this April photo. He was charged with terrorism and murder, in connection with a 2011 bombing and shooting rampage that claimed 77 lives in Oslo and on a nearby island. EPA photo

Sevil Erkuş Sevil Erkuş sevil.kucukkosum@hdn.com.tr

The 21-year sentence issued for mass murderer Anders Breivik is a proof of the functionality of the Norwegian legal system and should not be considered “naivety,” Norwegian Ambassador to Turkey Janis Bjorn Kanavin has told the Hürriyet Daily News. His remarks were an indirect response to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s recent criticism of the Scandinavian country when justifying his recent suggestion that capital punishment should be reinstated in the Turkish legal system.

“We did not succumb to the temptation to say that an extreme crime requires extreme measures, or measures beyond what is described in law,” Kanavin said in a recent interview. He said that although Brevik’s crime was “out of proportion to anything that had ever happened in Norway,” the country had still managed to remain within the boundaries of the law and not change it according to the crime.

Last week, Erdoğan said that the prison sentence given to Breivik was insufficient and that he should have been given the death penalty instead to ensure peace for the families of the victims. He thus used the Norwegian legal system’s ruling against Breivik to support his argument that the death penalty should be brought back to the Turkish law books, 10 years after it was removed. Breivik killed 77 people in an unprecedented terror attack last year, shocking the entire continent.

“Of course every country can and must have its own internal debates,” Kanavin said, adding that Norway was interested in “how to improve justice by not taking people’s lives as a part of the judicial process.”

He said Norway was a strong supporter of the movement to abolish the death penalty, and recalled that his country had cooperated with Turkey on the issue in the past.

FM clarified death penalty confusion

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu recently stressed that Turkey would not violate its international obligations and commitments on the issue, and Norway welcomes this clarification, Kanavin also said.

He said a number of Turkish politicians had raised the issue from time to time, including during a visit of the president of the Norwegian Parliament. Kanavin thinks that Turkey’s interest in the Breivik sentence derives from the fact that Norway managed to stay within the boundaries of the law, despite it being a tragic crime out of proportion to anything before in Norway.

He said the case was tried in what he called “ordinary courts,” adding: “there are no special courts … no special consideration.”

“In my view, in our society we felt that the law that governs every crime and every person is the law that we should apply. That is sufficient for us,” Kanavin said. “Part of the interest in the Breivik sentence is that some people think we were very soft and naive. Maybe we are, but I think we would rather be perceived as naive than the opposite.”

“Because we believe that only in that way can Norway really prevent these kinds of activaties from happening,” he said.

“If people feel that it is not necessary to seek terrorist actions in order get their case heard or to make their point, then we are safer society,” he said.

“The best way to show that Breivik failed was to prove that our sense of justice works, and our legal bases for being a member of our society works,” Kanavin said. Breivik was given life imprisonment, which is 21 years.


BERLIN - Reuters

Mass killer Breivik has written a letter to a far-right gang member in Germany charged with helping in a series of killings, calling her a hero, a German magazine has reported.

Der Spiegel weekly reproduced on Nov. 18 part of the letter the Breivik sent to Beate Zschaepe, charged this month with involvement in the murders of eight Turkish, one Greek immigrants and a policewoman between 2000 and 2007. Breivik addressed Zshaepe as “Dear Sister” in his letter dated May 7, 2012. “We are both among the first rain drops which indicate that there is a massive purifying storm approaching Europe,” he wrote.

“We are both martyrs for the conservative revolution and you should be proud of your sacrifice that is being celebrated in northern Europe,” he added. Der Spiegel also reported that Breivik called on Zaepsche to use her trial as a platform to espouse her views, as he had tried to do.


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Notice on comments

mara mcglothin

11/20/2012 4:05:46 PM

RED TAIL Norway is so civilized that they sat on the sidelines during WWII and watched many people bake in ovens. Civilized and justice are two different animals. TEKION I believe that I agree with your post of 2:17:36. While I never rules out the death penalty by lethal injection for those who are proven mass murderers beyond a reasonable doubt, Turkey is not a country where this could be carried out. Can't you just hear the emperor screaming "off with their heads!" ?

Janis Björn Kanavin

11/20/2012 1:49:51 PM

The question of what happens after 21 years is served is very pertinent. In the case of Breivik, he was sentenced also to preventive detention which is an indefinite sentence that may be given to dangerous, accountable offenders with the purpose of protecting the community against new serious criminality. In other words, he will not be released even after 21 years as long as there is a percieved risk that he will commit another crime. I am sorry this did not come out in the article. Kanavin

Red Tail

11/20/2012 1:22:36 PM

Norway is one of the most civilized countries in the world and has of course not death penalty. Neither are people stoned if they commit adulter nor do they cut off hands from theives.

stacy smith

11/20/2012 5:34:07 AM

Ruthless, high-handed, completely and utterly disgusting action – crimes against humanity especially against an indefensible population of women and children – Anders' shameless cowardly offense equally as good as Nazi crimes!

Tekion Particle

11/20/2012 2:17:36 AM

My previous article was not in support of PM Erdogan death penalty campaign at all. It was in fact an argument that when a murderer's guilt is proven beyond doubt it should face similar faith as his/her victim. In Turkey people get wrongfully arrested and convicted without proof of guilt all the time, that would be a massacre of a different kind. That would give who ever in power the freedom to get rid of whoever they do not like. With the current government it would mean off goes the opps.

Tekion Particle

11/20/2012 2:09:46 AM

I do not agree with you Mr Ambassador, this man is a calculative mass murderer. He did what he did and surrendered to the police because of your judicial system. He knew he would be out before he is 50 years old. The question is, are you going to let him out when he serves 21 years? If he is let out and he carries out another massacre don't forget to mention that your legal system works? That might comfort the loved ones of past and future of the victims.
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