OSLO: An Oslo court on Friday found Anders Behring Breivik guilty of “acts of terror” and sentenced him to 21 years in prison, subject to extension, for his killing spree last year that left 77 people dead.
The five judges unanimously found Breivik sane, a verdict in line with what the far-right extremist himself wanted, bringing to an end a spectacular 10-week trial for the attacks that traumatised normally-tranquil Norway and shocked the world.
Breivik killed eight people in an Oslo blast and took 69 more lives, mostly teenagers’, in a shooting frenzy at an island summer camp on July 22, 2011.
Norway’s penal code does not have the death penalty or life in prison, and the maximum prison term for Breivik’s charges is 21 years. However, inmates who after that are still considered a threat to society can be held indefinitely.
The 33-year-old loner had confessed to the attacks, seeing himself as a Nordic warrior against Europe’s “Muslim invasion” and against all those who promote multiculturalism.
The main question the court had to determine was whether he was sane and could be held responsible for his actions.
Breivik himself wanted to be found sane so that his Islamophobic ideology would not be considered the rantings of a lunatic.
Ironically, the prison sentence is what Breivik, most of the families of the victims had wanted, and the general public in Norway wanted.
But Prosecutor Svein Holden had called for him to be considered insane and sentenced to closed psychiatric care, arguing that “it would be worse to sentence someone who is psychotic to prison than to send someone who is not psychotic to psychiatric care.”
Breivik has previously said he would not appeal a prison sentence.