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.


More on This Story


This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
  • rate this

    Comment number 552.

    In Noway he is sane, just look at who they give the NPPs to and you will know they are far gone sane.

    Love to see this land of WMD gone.

  • rate this

    Comment number 551.

    Deluded physiological damaged murderers Incasarated for a long period of time.
    become Institutionalised or in layman’s terms they get use to it.
    Prison serves a purpose of keeping them from harming other but does it fulfil its other roles? That of deterrent? Give a feeling to the families that they are really being punished?

  • rate this

    Comment number 550.

    As a Brit born raised and living in norway, I can say this is the result everyone wanted, although others may think its too mild, chances are the review system will be used.
    Also the norwegian penal system is about rehab not punishment, which has also leant itself to the low level of crime and even lower level or repeat offending.
    I couldn't be happier than to have been raised around these values.

  • rate this

    Comment number 549.

    You've been pulled into the trap of arguing a point that's totally off point.
    Might as well argue white boys can't dance (I can't since I brought it up). It's equally meaningless.
    Good luck.

  • rate this

    Comment number 548.

    They may be far apart in time but this kind of event will occur again, just as mass shootings will always occur in the US. We can't breed extreme views out of society, just as we can't genetically engineer people to all follow the same political beliefs or moral boundaries. We can't negate risk from life. We either have to engage with all views or just resort to punishment when events occur.

  • rate this

    Comment number 547.

    @540. Bill: I understand what you're saying. Clearly outside jail people with obvious mental health issues will receive intervention, and that would presumably continue in jail.

    But there is that grey area where a prison could overly restrict prisoners simply because it has so much opportunity, even while outside they'd be allowed to choose their own fate. A man has the right to die.

  • rate this

    Comment number 546.

    #496: "Many people of all races and creeds in the UK despise political correctness and the so called liberal elite ..."

    So you're saying that inside every small-minded racist there's a potential mass-killer waiting his opportunity? Funny, isn't it, how Fox News-speak infiltrates common speech: "liberal" = open-minded, pragmatic, non-judgmental; "elite" = the best. What an awful combination ...

  • rate this

    Comment number 545.


    Multiculturalism is the reason that America's obesity rates are so high. It's a proven fact that hispanics & blacks are facing an obesity epidemic.

    "Prevalence of obesity in black Americans is 50% higher than that of white Americans, with obesity rates in Hispanics falling roughly between the two groups, according statistics" (2009 US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

  • rate this

    Comment number 544.

    BBC didn't do a very good job of explaining the sentence.

    Forvaring (custody, detainment) is an unlimited jail sentence. Somewhere between 10 and 21 years into the future, he will be allowed to speak to a court, which will then give him another five years of detainment no matter what he says. This will repeat itself until he is no longer a threat (i.e. when he is dead).

  • rate this

    Comment number 543.

    69 Flipmode. In practice we know he will never be let out.
    Norway has an admirable past and we could learn a lot from them not the other way round.

  • rate this

    Comment number 542.

    This entire trial was an exercise in criminal code naivete. Do Norweigans think they are so isolated from the poisons of the rest of the world to the point that their criminal law is written as if by doddling grandmothers? A rude awakening it must have been. Havn't they noticed that an invigorated neo-fascism is sweeping europe in response to over the top liberal socialist extravaganses.

  • rate this

    Comment number 541.

    Anders went about a problem that everyone knows is a European wide problem the wrong way. He did the anti Islamic movement a dis-service, but is although people will not like it his acts however misguided, he believed he was carrying out a political act. With that in mind should we not also ask why did he feel the system left him no other option.

  • rate this

    Comment number 540.

    538. inqa
    My view is that the threat of prison should act as a deterrent. It should be a penalty for committing a crime. It should not be a retribution.
    However, if the affects of committing a crime cause prisoners to commit suicide, then let them have the liberty of those who did not commit a crime and let them just do it.
    As I said, Just my view.

  • rate this

    Comment number 539.

    Judgement of him to be sane is correct. Many commit actions we find repulsive. They often have nothing to do with insanity. We have to stop explaning away these acts as 'insane' because we don't understand them + find a way to challenge them. Dissmissing actions we find abhorrent as 'insanity' gets us nowhere.

  • rate this

    Comment number 538.

    @526. inqa: Sorry, too ambiguous - but I guess "help" isn't clear-cut.

    If a prisoner is suffering a mental health problem then that should be treated. No prison should encourage suicide.

    But if a prisoner is determined over years to kill themselves then something to guarantee no self-harm, e.g. heavy restraint or sedation, is questionable.

    I don't have answers. But prison is not for suffering.

  • rate this

    Comment number 537.

    Chocking! British moderators have removed my comment about the high crimerate in Oslo, because of the immigrants!? I was citing what everyone over her knows for a fact - go check out for yourselves! I wrote nothing racistic, simply stating that Norway has problems due to massive immigration and high numbers of rape- and robberies.

  • rate this

    Comment number 536.

    Noway land is a make believe world for fake people who like to show off to the poor countries, they say look at us we are civilised and you are not.

    But for how long will it last?

  • rate this

    Comment number 535.

    Why doesn't the BBC refer to Breivik as a terrorist? Aren't his actions those of a terrorist? He killed based on his fanatical beliefs.

    The state propaganda machine, aka the BBC, refers to Breivik as a 'mass killer'. If he had been brown-skinned he would have been referred to as a terrorist. Even the Norwegian court charged him under terror offences.

  • rate this

    Comment number 534.

    526. inqa
    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".
    Not quite sure it reads as you actually meant.

  • rate this

    Comment number 533.

    I've become conditioned to racist comments on here now.

    The only time I've been shocked in the last 2 hours was when I saw a headline above claiming our PM "Wants more democracy".
    Dave C wants more democracy? Why are his unelected and media manipulated party still in power if he wants more democracy?

    Bloke's an odd-ball.


Page 2 of 29


More Europe stories



Try our new site and tell us what you think. Learn more
Take me there

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.