Anders Behring Breivik: Norway court finds him sane


Anders Breivik: "I cannot legitimise Oslo district court by accepting the sentence"

A Norwegian court has found that mass killer Anders Behring Breivik is sane and sentenced him to 21 years in jail.

Breivik, who admitted killing 77 people when he bombed central Oslo and then opened fire at an island youth camp, told the court he would not appeal.

He insisted he was sane and refused to plead guilty, saying last year's attacks were necessary to stop the "Islamisation" of Norway.

Prosecutors had called for him to be considered insane.

Breivik was convicted of terrorism and premeditated murder, and given the maximum sentence of 21 years' imprisonment.

However, that can be prolonged at a later date if he is deemed to remain a danger to society.

Planned attack

At the scene

Many relatives and survivors reacted with relief as Judge Wenche Arntzen declared Anders Breivik to be sane, sentencing him to at least 21 years in prison.

The mother of one 16-year-old girl who Breivik shot dead on Utoeya island said she felt "a little happiness" at the fact he was found to be sane.

Still, she said, she had wished he could have been sentenced to 21 years in prison for each of the 77 lives he took.

Others said Breivik the man had for some time now been irrelevant to them, and that the outcome of the trial could never bring their loved ones back.

Delivering the verdict, Judge Wenche Elisabeth Arntzen said that the court considered Breivik to be suffering from "narcissistic personality characteristics" but not psychosis.

She imposed a sentence of "preventive detention", a special prison term for criminals considered dangerous to society.

She set the minimum length of imprisonment to 10 years.

Afterwards Breivik said he did not recognise the court, which he contended had "sided with the multicultural majority in parliament", but said he would not appeal as this would legitimise the proceedings.

Prosecutors - who had argued the defendant was insane - also said they would not challenge the verdict.

Some of the survivors and relatives of his victims welcomed the verdict and the end of the trial.

"Now we can have peace and quiet," Per Balch Soerensen, whose daughter was among those killed in the shootings on on Utoeya island, told Denmark's TV2.

"He doesn't mean anything to me; he is just air."

Court-appointed psychiatrists disagreed on Breivik's sanity. A first team which examined him declared him to be a paranoid schizophrenic, but the second found he was sane.

Norway 2011 attacks

Victims of the 22 July attacks in Norway
  • 8 people killed and 209 injured by bomb in Oslo
  • 69 people killed on Utoeya island, of them 34 aged between 14 and 17
  • 33 injured on Utoeya
  • Nearly 900 people affected by attacks

Before the verdict, Breivik said psychiatric care would be "worse than death".

He will serve his sentence at Oslo's high-security Ila Prison, where he has been held in isolation for most of the time since his arrest.

Initially he will be kept isolated from casual contact with other prisoners.

Breivik, 33, carried out the meticulously planned attack on 22 July 2011, wearing a fake police uniform, and methodically hunted down his victims.

He accused the governing Labour Party of promoting multiculturalism and endangering Norway's identity.

Some victims at the Labour Party youth camp on Utoeya island were shot in the head at point-blank range.

Ahead of the verdict, security barriers were put up outside the district court in Oslo.

A glass partition separated Breivik from relatives of victims in a courtroom custom-built for the trial.

Remote-controlled cameras filmed the proceedings, sending the images to courtrooms around Norway where other relatives could watch the hearing live.

Breivik's trial, which began in March and lasted for 10 weeks, heard graphic testimony from some of the survivors of his attacks.

Mohamad Hadi Hamed, 21, who is now in a wheelchair, told the court how his left arm and his left leg were amputated after he was shot by Breivik.

Another survivor, Einar Bardal, 17, described how he was trying to escape when he heard a loud bang, followed by a loud noise in his head.

Experts in far-right ideology told the trial Breivik's ideas should not be seen as the ramblings of a madman.

Breivik's attacks ignited a debate about the nature of tolerance and democracy in Norway.


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  • Comment number 532.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 531.

    Norwegians should be applauded for a sound decision. People with extreme views who do terrible things are not necessarily insane. Saying he should be executed as a deterrent is missing the point. It's no deterrent at all - he would become a martyr and be revered. There is no glory in this sentence. No mistreatment (ref guantanamo) to cause outrage. He is simply locked away to do no more harm

  • rate this

    Comment number 530.

    I would rather live in a liberal, western And secular democracy - the sort that sentences a mass murderer to life imprisonment, than one whose misguided and frankly mediaevel justice system purports to execute girls for burning a book, or for having the temerity to be raped. I understand that this is the extreme end of the spectrum. Just as Breiviks actions are themselves the most extreme. Discuss

  • rate this

    Comment number 529.

    life should mean life

  • Comment number 528.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 527.

    Norway is probably stupid enough to let him out in 20 years. They 'want to see the good in people'. That's why a foreigner, who tried to rape and kill a beautiful girl (a friend of mine) and on other occassions tried to kill a 14-yr old girl AND mutilated a THIRD girl in her genital area - ONLY got 3,5 yrs imprisonment! The police say ' they want to teach these men about the culture in Norway'!

  • rate this

    Comment number 526.

    @523. Mr C: "Hopefully the prison staff will keep an eye on him and won't let him take the easy way out."

    What does this mean? Are you condoning sadism?

    Prison staff should help the suicidal, but that's because they have a duty of care to all prison inmates regardless of their history - not because suicide is the "easy way out"..

  • Comment number 525.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

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    Comment number 524.

    Oh and for everyone queuing up to demand this man's death...

    He ain't even close to the body count of one Tony Blair.

    (No I don't expect this comment to stay... but it's Tony still has more graves ticked off against his name.)

  • rate this

    Comment number 523.

    Lets face it, he's never going to be released. Someone like him will always be a threat to society especially after him saying 'My only regret is I didn't kill more'
    Hopefully the prison staff will keep an eye on him and won't let him take the easy way out.

  • rate this

    Comment number 522.

    He will serve minimum one and a half month for each victim. An insane judgement. His term could be extended at the end but the current judgement could motivate other extremists.

  • rate this

    Comment number 521.

    If only the UK was heading in a similar direction to Norway and other Scandinavian countries, rather than the obese, shooting, right wing, fundamentalist, and ill disciplined war-mongering of the US

    517. Waspsnest
    How do you feel about the Christian invasion of the UK around 1600 years ago? They murdered thousands of Britons, was this okay because Christianity was our destiny or something?

  • Comment number 520.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 519.

    Hmm, just over 14 weeks per person.

    'Norway has never had a crime like this...', "We're a nation at peace...', 'Don't criticize Norway...', Blah, Blah, Blah...

    Well Norway, welcome to the real-world, now you DO have crimes like this so you had better get your penal system working.

  • rate this

    Comment number 518.

    I see the 'change the law to suit my opinion' mob are out in force for this one.

    The Norwegian people have shown immense dignity in dealing with this tragedy, approaching it via democracy and not at any point giving any value to what this man has done.

    Dignity sadly lacking in those that want to meet murder with murder.

  • Comment number 517.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 516.

    506: scott

    I am not sure I understand your point? Clearly Breivik is an extreme, evil individual. His warped reasoning and his actions are not shared by any right thinking person. You have to question his sanity due to, his lack of humanity and empathy for the victims. My wider point on multiculturalism and it's apologists will, however, be shared by millions - those who make up the silent maj.

  • rate this

    Comment number 515.

    Please do not comment here before you read this article.
    can everybody get it in to your heads: he is not going to sit in jail for 21years. he will be in jail for the rest of his life, every 5 years they will decide that he is an danger to society and that they cant let him out!! one can in fact sit much longer than 21years in prison in Norway, some spend their whole life there, Breivik will

  • rate this

    Comment number 514.

    Is it because Norway has high taxes and succeeds in creating excellent public health care and education that we are seeing many strange comments on here?

    From my experience it is an excellent country

    Insanity is a tough one to call and is mostly subjective, but I'd like more studies done on brain activity of mass murderers, because time and again science has proved that evil is a myth

  • rate this

    Comment number 513.

    "You can measure the civilization of a society by the way it treats its prisoners"


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