Anders Behring Breivik was sentenced to prison on Friday by a Norwegian court. The court denied the prosecutors and insanity ruling that they hoped would show he was a madman. Breivik was convicted of massacring 77 people.
Breivik smiled with apparent satisfaction when Judge Wenche Elisabeth Arntzen read the ruling, declaring him sane enough to be held criminally responsible and sentencing him to “preventive detention,” which means it is unlikely he will ever be released.
The sentence brings a form of closure to Norway, which was shaken to its core by the bomb and gun attacks on July 22, 2011, because Breivik’s lawyers said before the ruling that he would not appeal any ruling that did not declare him insane.
But it also means Breivik got what he wanted: a ruling that paints him as a political terrorist instead of a psychotic mass murderer. Since his arrest, Breivik has said the attacks were meant to draw attention to his extreme right-wing ideology and to inspire a multi-decade uprising by “militant nationalists” across Europe.
The defense for Breivik said, “He has always seen himself as sane so he isn’t surprised by the ruling.”
What is so amazing is the reaction of the victims and survivors of the incident.
“I am very relieved and happy about the outcome,” said Tore Sinding Bekkedal, who survived the Utoya shooting.
“I believe he is mad, but it is political madness and not psychiatric madness,” Bekkedal said. “He is a pathetic and sad little person.”
Breivik openly confessed to the attacks during his trial. He described the details of detonating a car bomb at the government headquarters in Oslo. He then opened fire at an annual summer camp for the governing Labor Party’s youth. According to the numbers, eight people were killed and more than 200 injured in the explosion. Sixty-nine people, most of them teenagers, were killed in the shooting spree which took place on Utoya island.
In his final words, Breivik regretted not killing more people, apologizing to other “militant nationalists” for not achieving an even higher death toll. He said he wouldn’t appeal the ruling because that would “legitimize” a court he said got its mandate from a political system that supports multiculturalism.
His time could expand to twenty-one years and then he will be out. How safe do you think people will feel should that take place? No, this is not justice. It is injustice.
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