Norway mass killer Breivik found sane, sentenced to prison

Court finds Breivik responsible for acts of terror, sentences him to 21 years in prison.

August 24, 2012

Norway's mass killer Anders Behring Breivik was found sane and sentenced to 21 years in prison on Friday for a bloodbath that left 77 people dead and traumatised the normally tranquil nation.

An Oslo court's unanimous verdict finding Breivik responsible for "acts of terror" was in line with what the far-right extremist himself wanted, bringing to an end a spectacular 10-week trial for his devastating twin attacks.

On July 22, 2011, Breivik set off a bomb in Oslo that killed eight people and then took the lives of 69 more victims, mostly teenagers, in a shooting frenzy at an island summer camp.

"The ruling is unanimous," presiding judge Wenche Elizabeth Arntzen told the court.

"He is sentenced to prison for 21 years, with a minimum of 10 years," she added. Under Norwegian law the sentence could be extended.

Breivik, wearing a dark suit with a white shirt and a grey tie, smiled as the verdict was read out in court.

At the beginning of proceedings, after his handcuffs were removed, he made his far-right salute as he had during the trial, defiantly touching his clenched right fist to his chest and then stretching his arm out in front of him.

Survivors of the Utoeya island massacre took to Twitter immediately to comment on the sentencing, with Emma Martinovic tweeting: "YEEEEEEESSSSSSSS!!!"

And Viljar Hansse, who took a bullet to the head in the massacre, tweeted: "Finished. Period."

Breivik has previously said he would not appeal a prison sentence, as he wanted to be found sane so his Islamophobic and anti-multicultural ideology would not be considered the rantings of a lunatic.

And another Utoeya survivor, Ingrid Nymoen, tweeted: "This crap is finally over. Life can start now."

Knut Storberget, who was Norway's justice minister at the time of the attacks, hailed the verdict, telling television channel TV2: "It's a good basis for him to stay in prison for the rest of his life."

"It's the heaviest sentence he could get."

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, inmates who after that are still considered a threat to society can be held indefinitely.

The 33-year-old loner had confessed to the attacks, seeing himself as a Nordic warrior against Europe's "Muslim invasion" and all those who promote multiculturalism.

The main question the court had to determine was whether he was sane and could be held responsible for his actions.

Ironically, the prison sentence is not only what Breivik wanted, but also what most of the families of the victims and the general public in Norway desired.

But Prosecutor Svein Holden had called for him to be sent to closed psychiatric care, arguing that "it would be worse to sentence someone who is psychotic to prison than to send someone who is not psychotic to psychiatric care."

Breivik, who laid out his hateful world view in a rambling 1,500-page online manifesto, was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and declared criminally insane after his arrest for the deadly rampage.

However, a public outcry led to a second assessment which found him legally sane – a view shared by most Norwegians in polls, and by Breivik himself who has said he would accept prison but appeal against closed psychiatric treatment.

In previous testimony during the trial that ran until June, Breivik laid out in chilling detail what motivated him to meticulously plan for years and then execute Norway's worst massacre since World War II.

On Friday, presiding judge Wenche Elizabeth Arntzen recounted Breivik's Oslo childhood, his later failed business ventures, including selling fake diplomas, and a trip to Liberia, before he moved back in with his mother.

From 2006 to 2008 he committed himself to the real-time online role-playing game 'World of Warcraft', for up to 16 hours a day, she said, and he later continued playing other games for an average six and a half hours a day.

He spent his time in seclusion penning his manifesto "2083: A European Declaration of Independence", the date marking the 400th anniversary of the 1683 Battle of Vienna which prevented the Ottoman empire from taking over Europe.

She recounted that Breivik called himself the "cell commander", "knight" or "perfect foot soldier" of a clandestine right-wing group called the Knights Templar, but the judge said the court "has found no evidence for the existence of the Knights Templar".

The court also heard about the lengths Breivik went to to plot his attacks.

Judge Arne Lyng said Breivik had bought two rifles, a pistol and a shotgun as well as ammunition in purchases from 14 retailers in four countries.

To make his bomb from chemical fertiliser, diesel and aluminium – with an explosive yield equivalent to 400-700 kilograms of TNT – he made 43 purchases from suppliers in five countries, said Lyng.

To train himself, Breivik took several courses of steroids, worked out at a fitness centre and went on hikes with a backpack full of rocks, Lyng said.

In the days before the attacks, he started taking a cocktail of ephedrine, caffeine and aspirin – a stimulant mix with an effect similar to that of amphetamine that boosts confidence, the willingness to take risks and leads to "increased risk of aggression and violence" according to experts, Lyng added.

He also practiced a meditation technique, borrowed from ancient Japanese warriors, "to de-emotionalise himself", and before the attacks played a total of 130 hours of shooting video game "Call of Duty", the judge said.


Shyam | 10 years ago | Reply

We Indians have a mob mentality. In India, crowd would have beaten him up like a dog.

Sabih | 10 years ago | Reply

Norway has a joke of a justice system or there are people who do not want their man punished.

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