Anders Behring Breivik – the Norwegian whose multiple acts of terrorism last year killed 77 people – was sentenced last Friday to a maximum term of 21 years in prison. The ruling came in the wake of the court’s decision finding Breivik legally sane.
In her reading of the verdict, Judge Wenche Elizabeth Arntzen specifically noted that Breivik’s sentence must include an absolute minimum of 10 years behind bars. Amtzen added that 445 days would be deducted from the sentence, reflecting the time the gunman has already spent in jail.
While a prison term of 21 years is the most severe term available for murder and terrorism under the law in Norway, it can be extended if the prisoner is determined to be a continued threat to society at the conclusion of that period.
In July 2011, Breivik detonated a bomb in Oslo, the capital of Norway, which killed eight people. He immediately traveled to a nearby island where young members of the youth wing of the ruling Labor Party were participating in activities at the group’s summer camp. While wearing the uniform of a policeman, Breivik went on a mass shooting spree, murdering 69 people in the process. His youngest victim was 14 years old.
Observers who were monitoring the court proceedings expressed their satisfaction with the verdict. “It was such a shock to most Norwegian people when this happened. I think this is a relief for everyone. I think it’s positive for most Norwegians,” said Sindra Hauglund, who added that the sentencing closes a chapter for many Norwegians. Beate Amundsen Korren concurred with Hauglund’s comments. “We people wanted this verdict, and it will give us an opportunity now to sort of get rid of him for a while and have him behind bars,” Korren said.
Evan Hansen, however, was worried that the avowedly anti-Muslim Breivik might still be able to make an impact on Norwegian society. “So far it’s a positive thing, but many things will happen while he’s in jail, and we have got a lot of people who are following him and that’s a problem and how to deal with it,” Hansen said. “Let them write, let them speak because they have to do it in the open, you can’t close it down.”
Breivik proudly spoke of the massacre he perpetrated as the most “spectacular” political act in Europe since the end of World War II. The right-wing extremist was convinced that his murderous actions would impede the advance of multiculturalism in Europe.
Much of the trial centered around the issue of Breivik’s sanity. While an initial psychiatric analysis concluded that he is a paranoid schizophrenic, a follow-up analysis declared him to be sane. Breivik had stated that he hoped to avoid the “humiliation” of being found mentally insane.
[Editor’s note: Breivik was also noted in Jewish media for his ideological support for Israel. As we noted in a previous Jewish Voice editorial, Breivik “is adamantly opposed to his country’s liberal multiculturalism and tolerance of Muslims, and militantly pro-Israel, presumably on account of Israel’s dedication to fighting terrorism—though if he truly understood Israel’s tolerant policy towards minority groups, including its Muslim population, he might be a little less gung-ho in his ‘Zionism.’ ” Such “friends,” as we’ve said before, our community can do without!]
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