Friday, August 24, 2012

Convicted: Norwegian Massacre Suspect Found Sane and Sentenced to 21 Years In Prison

Anders Breivik, the far right terrorist who murdered 77 people in the course of bombing government offices in Oslo and then shooting dozens of teenagers at a youth retreat, was found sane and sentenced to 21 years in prison. Under Norwegian law, that is the maximum sentence, but he can be incarcerated beyond that in seven year increments if he's deemed to be a threat. It's akin to the 20 to life sentences that are routinely issued in the US; parole can be denied by parole boards. In Norway, the convict can be further incarcerated if the convict is deemed a threat to society. I have no doubt that in 21 years time, the court will still find him a threat. Breivik has shown no remorse for his actions and isn't likely to ever show remorse. His manifesto indicated his intentions to commit mass murder, and he would likely try again if ever given the opportunity to do so.

He didn't exactly go quietly. At first he attempted to make a statement before the court that he didn't accept the court's legitimacy, made a Nazi salute, and was admonished by the court for that. Indeed, he said that he wished he could have killed more.

He then said that he wouldn't contest the sentence, because that would legitimize the court.

The New York Times further reports:
Mr. Breivik, 33, who had insisted that he was sane when he carried out the attacks last year as part of what he called a campaign against multiculturalism in Norway, smiled when the verdict was announced. As he arrived in court on Friday, wearing a dark suit and tie, he raised his right arm in a right-wing salute, his fist clenched.

His 10-week trial ended in June. Defense lawyers had sought a prison sentence, arguing that Mr. Breivik was sane when he bombed buildings in downtown Oslo, killing eight people, and then headed to Utoya Island, where he shot dead 69 people at a summer youth camp run by the Labour Party. Prosecutors said that he was mentally ill, was not criminally responsible and should be hospitalized instead. It was not immediately clear whether prosecutors planned an appeal.

Experts said they were not aware of any previous case in Norwegian legal history in which prosecutors had called for an insanity verdict and defense lawyers had advocated conviction.

Judge Wenche Elizabeth Arntzen said on Friday that the decision reached by the five-member panel hearing the case had been unanimous. Reading from a 90-page judgment, she rejected Mr. Breivik’s assertion that he acted as part of a network called the Knights Templar, saying there was no evidence to prove its existence. Mr. Breivik has said he was present when it was founded in London in 2002.

Labour Party supporters in court on Friday hugged as the verdict was announced. Mr. Breivik is to be incarcerated in isolation at Ila prison on the outskirts of Oslo, news reports said, in a three-room cell with an exercise area, a television set and a laptop computer that is not connected to the Internet.

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