Breivik's acceptance of prison sentence brings relief to Norway (+video)
Anders Behring Breivik, who was convicted of twin terror attacks last summer that killed 77 people, announced he would not appeal his sentence of 21 years in prison.
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Breivik targeted the Labor party with his attacks because he claims the party was “ethnically cleansing indigenous Norwegians” by facilitating mass Muslim immigration into Norway with its immigration policies. He placed a car bomb outside the government complex in Oslo, killing eight, and then drove to the nearby island of Utøya to shoot Labor party youth at their annual summer camp.Skip to next paragraph
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“This is a just sentencing, and the law’s strongest,” says Trond Henry Blattman, leader of the national July 22 Support Group. “It’s very clear that he is a danger to society and there is very little likelihood that he will be let back into society.”
Judge Arntzen criticized the first forensic psychiatric report for not taking into account Breivik’s political ideology when it concluded he was paranoid schizophrenic. The psychiatrists cited Breivik’s claims that he wanted to “save us all” from the ensuing civil war that would happen as a result of the Islamic colonization of Europe and bore responsibility of deciding who would live or die in their determination that he was insane.
“The court lacks a broader discussion of Breivik’s statements, especially related to the extreme subculture he belongs to,” said Arntzen.
“The court noted that the defendant testified that his choice of victims [was] politically motivated and that he cynically and coldly picked his victims,” she added. “The court believes this is not a [physical] impossibility – no matter how reprehensible it may be.”
Arntzen said it would be wrong to place someone in compulsory psychiatric care if they did not need treatment, and said the court placed little weight on his own preference to be found sane. The court further found he could not claim he was not guilty on the grounds that it was a “pre-emptive attack” to avoid a wider civil war.
The verdict comes as the country is increasingly frustrated with the government's and police’s inability to have protected them against the attacks and respond adequately. Within the last few weeks, the head of the Norwegian national police has resigned and there have been calls for Jens Stoltenberg, Labor prime minister, to accept responsibility for his failure to protect the public and step down.
The hunt for accountability comes in the wake of the 22 July Commission report, released earlier this month, which found that the attacks could have been prevented and lives saved by a swifter response. Breivik was able to hunt down and kill unarmed teenagers on Utøya for more than an hour until the police arrived, and the government was slow in closing the government complex to vehicle traffic.
The prime minister is set to appear at a parliamentary session next week to explain his strategy for implementing the changes to the security protocol and penal code, as proposed by the commission. However, his resignation is seen as unlikely, because his center-left government holds a majority of the seats in parliament.