24 Aug 2012

Oslo court declares Anders Breivik sane

A panel in Oslo declares Anders Behring Breivik sane and sentences him to 21 years in jail after he admitted killing 77 people including dozens of young people on the island of Utoya and in Oslo.

Breivik will serve a minimum of ten years in prison.

The massacre of 77 people in twin attacks in July 2011 stunned the world. Many of the victims were teenagers, gunned down while they took part in a Norwegian Labour Party youth camp on the idyllic island of Utoya.

Breivik had previously planted a bomb outside the government’s headquarters in Oslo before going on a shooting rampage. disguised as a policeman.

Breivik has admitted the killings but has denied guilt, claiming self-defence. The 33-year old former neo-Nazi, told the Oslo court he carried out the attacks to defend Norway against the “evils of multiculturalism”.

"He's not a monster. He's a well behaved young man" - Breivik's forensic psychiatrist speaks to Channel 4 News

Beyond being the most high-profile criminal trial in Norway since Nazi collaborators were prosecuted following World War II, the case also has a peculiar twist: Breivik says he will appeal an insanity ruling but accept a prison term.

He is very clear that if he is deemed insane, he will appeal, and appeal on the spot. Breivik’s lawyer Geir Lippestad

He told the trial that he did not consider himself insane but instead viewed himself as basically a “nice person” who had trained himself to stifle his emotions so he could carry out the attacks.

Militant nationalist

He has been held in isolation during his imprisonment and denied priveleges available to other inmates such as access to a library, a gym, work in the prison’s various shops and other leisure activities.

Instead, he has three cells: one has gym equipment, another has a bed and the third a desk with a laptop. His lawyers say Breivik is already at work writing sequels to the 1,500-page manifesto he released on the internet before the attacks.

Speaking to Channel 4 News Roger Ingebrigtsen, a former deputy defence minister whose stepdaughter was badly hurt after being shot four times, said that he was uncomfortable about the conditions in which Breivik would be held.

“I think Norway needs to have a discussion about this… Some people like Anders Baring Breivik, he shouldn’t be in prison and live with all kinds of freedoms that people outside of the prison (have)…

“I don’t think that Mr Brievik should sit there and print books and communicate his hate message to the whole world.”

He said that he would also starting a debate about whether Norway’s 21 year maximum sentence was too low for a person guilty of crimes such as mass murder, but rejected any notion of a return to the death penalty.

“I hope we still can have an open Norway but it’s time to have an debate about how long time (sic) people can be in prison.”

Breivik wants to be seen as a political terrorist, or as he calls himself, a “militant nationalist.” During the trial he 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’s lawyer said that Breivik will appeal if he is declared insane but would accept a prison term. An appeals trial would likely be held early next year.

“He is very clear that if he is deemed insane, he will appeal, and appeal on the spot,” defence lawyer Geir Lippestad said.