Norway’s envoy defends no Breivik death sentence

Norway’s envoy defends no Breivik death sentence

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Norway’s envoy defends no Breivik death sentence

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

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.