Breivik ruled sane, gets 21 years

2012-08-24 10:10

Oslo - A Norwegian court found Anders Behring Breivik sane on Friday and gave him a maximum jail term for murdering 77 people in a shooting and bombing last year, offering closure to a Nordic nation devastated by its worst attack since World War II.

Breivik, who has admitted blowing up the Oslo government headquarters with a fertiliser bomb, killing eight, before gunning down 69 at the ruling party's summer youth camp, was sentenced to 21 years in prison, the maximum penalty in Norway.

But officials can prevent his release indefinitely and are expected to do so if the anti-Muslim right-winger still poses a threat. Breivik had rejected prosecutors' arguments that he was mad, and had said he would appeal if he were ruled insane.

"In a unanimous decision ... the court sentences the defendant to 21 years of preventive detention," said judge Wenche Elizabeth Arntzen, dismissing the prosecutor's call for a verdict that would have labelled Breivik insane and have confined him indefinitely to psychiatric care.

The killings shook this nation of five million which had prided itself as a safe haven from much of the world's troubles, raising questions about the prevalence of far-right views in a country where oil wealth has attracted rising immigration.

Breivik, aged 33, will be kept in isolation inside Ila Prison on the outskirts of Oslo inside relatively spacious quarters that include a separate exercise room, a computer and a television.

Verdict academic

Criminal guilt was never an issue as Breivik acknowledged and described in horrific detail his murders. His 10-week trial focused on his sanity, with prosecutors arguing he should be declared insane and held in a mental hospital, not jail.

For many survivors the actual verdict was academic. But the trial that went into every detail of the day-long killing spree, Norway's worst massacre since the Second World War, offered some closure for families.

Some survivors wanted a sane verdict, which makes clear that Breivik is responsible for his actions and also makes a protracted appeal unlikely.

Breivik has described an insane verdict as "a fate worse than death". Were he to have been found insane and decided to appeal, the entire trial would have had to be repeated.

Breivik justified his killing spree arguing that the centre-left Labour party is deliberately destroying the nation by encouraging Muslim immigration.

Although his victims were mostly teenagers, with some as young as 14 years old, he rejected being called a child murderer, arguing that his victims were brainwashed "cultural Marxists" whose political activism would adulterate pure Norwegian blood.

'Off the streets'

He stalked his victims dressed as a policeman, tricking them into thinking he was the help sent from the shore, then shot them from close range before finishing them with a shot to the head.

"I stand by what I have done and I would still do it again," he said during his court testimony.

One team of court appointed psychiatrists concluded he was psychotic while another came to the opposing conclusion. To make the ruling more difficult, several other experts who testified described a slew of mental conditions Breivik probably suffered.

Still, polls showed that around 70% of Norway's public thought such a complex attack could not have been carried out by a madman and Breivik had to bear responsibility.

"The most important thing for me is not whether he is sent to a mental hospital or jail, it's just that he remains off the streets [and] he is never let out," Vegard Groslie Wennesland, a survivor of the attack said before the verdict.

Breivik has said he would accept a sane verdict, but derided a jail term as "pathetic", and said acquittal or execution were the only reasonable outcomes.

A commission investigating the attack earlier this month concluded that all of part of it could have been prevented and intelligence, police and government blunders likely cost lives.

  • wesley.wallace.988 - 2012-08-24 10:14


      boetjan.vandermerwe - 2012-08-24 10:32

      Actually he's been sentenced to a minimum of 10 years. And the 445 days already spent in custody will contribute to that term. So he may be out in 8 and a half years or so...

      christo.stone - 2012-08-24 10:34

      Yep...very...21 years for killing 77 people...that is not justified.

      arthur.hugh - 2012-08-24 10:38

      He might not be insane, but the jail term is completely INSANE!! How can he get away with such a short sentence? What is wrong with these people... jeeez.

      ajjordaan - 2012-08-24 10:45

      Kan jy nie lees nie Boetjan

      DSBennie - 2012-08-24 10:58

      @Hugh_Influence: that is the maximum sentence that is available in Sweden. They try to reform their prisoners, I very much doubt though that he will ever not be a danger to society thus his sentence can just be extended every time it is about to be expired.

      ianon.ym - 2012-08-24 11:03

      That's just over 3mths per life - and we thought life was cheap in SA - disgusting verdict ...

      Andrew2711 - 2012-08-24 11:08

      What a ludicrous sentence; that equates to about 3 months 8 days jail time per person he murdered! If maximum sentence in Norway is 21 years, then sentence him to 21 years x 77 murders = 1617 years. This current sentence is an insult to the victims

      boetjan.vandermerwe - 2012-08-24 11:39

      @ajjordaan ja! It's not my fault it's a poor article. Just because this article makes no mention of the minimum sentence doesn't mean there is none. Unless of course you dont know the difference between minimum and maximum. "He was sentenced to the maximum possible term of 21 years and was ordered to serve a minimum of 10 years in prison. The time he has already spent in prison counts toward the term." "Reading the ruling, Judge Wenche Elisabeth Arntzen handed down a sentence of "preventive detention" of at least 10 years and a maximum of 21 years." Regardless, It's a real shame he was declared sane, thats all he really wanted.. And the very fact that he was smiling whilest his sentence was being read implies that he's far from being sane.

      omo.naija.750 - 2012-08-24 16:37

      I bet SA criminals will want to immigrate to Norway now.I understand that the Norwegian Government likes to rehabilitate prisoners but this case should have been given special and these guy should have hanged.

      ajjordaan - 2012-09-01 17:44

      But officials can prevent his release indefinitely and are expected to do so.....boet!

  • bergie.sean - 2012-08-24 10:14

    21 years, thats nothing?

      james.m.turner.35 - 2012-08-24 10:30

      21 years is the maximum sentence in Norway, unfortunately. He could of killed twice more, and he still would of got 21 years. Wait until you see what prison in Norway looks like. A jail cell is like a flat. it has different rooms!

      bergie.sean - 2012-08-24 10:38

      He will probably get murdered inside or else as soon as he steps back into public, so all is well that ends well.

      Werewabbit - 2012-08-24 11:29

      A Friend of mine spent 2 years in a Norwegian jail and said he actually enjoyed the experience. Breivik should spend that time in an African jail.

      abra.kadaver.1 - 2012-08-24 12:39

      @warren, 2 years ? did he only murder 6 people ?

  • phathuchicos - 2012-08-24 10:17

    wow...21 years. He'll be back in his fifties... Norwegian toothless constitution definitely needs a Chinese make-over

      davorin.dobrovic - 2012-08-24 10:42

      yes, we should emulate a country that restricts free speech, has only state run media, sells the organs of death row prisoners and executes prisoners with assault rifles.

      abra.kadaver.1 - 2012-08-24 11:41

      I agree , apart from the issues like communism, over population, restricted breeding, death penalties for petty crimes, bad food, rude people, no toilets, stupid bears that only eat bamboo and won't breed, pollution, weird language, child labour, piracy of intellectual property, eating dogs, killing rhinos , poaching perlemoen, no human rights at all, invading Tibet and a stupid big wall , then yes we should copy China.

      omo.naija.750 - 2012-08-24 16:50

      @abra.kadaver.1 - I actually support restricted breeding especially in Africa where my fellow blacks are breeding like they are competing for a gold medal in reproduction sports.

  • peter.hampshire.35 - 2012-08-24 10:18

    Not enough for this despot, 21 years is a joke!

  • pyn.appel - 2012-08-24 10:19

    WHAT !?!?! That's about 4 months per victim !?!?! Where is the justice system going???? (And as you can see it is not just in SA that some rulings are discusting!) Wonder what it would have been if he was found to be insane !?!? Slap on the wrist !?!?!? GRRRRRRRRRRR

  • shaun.brooks.79 - 2012-08-24 10:21

    How is it possible one human life is worth 21 years...this is supposed to be a first worlds country...??? Their law is useless...? What must a criminal do to get life or the death innocent people mean nothing to them...??? Total Injustice to make the crime even worse after the fact

  • deon.rossouw.56 - 2012-08-24 10:22

    About three months for a life!

  • firstseed.mbeva.9 - 2012-08-24 10:24

    Sane Murderer=life sentence.Bring him to RSA we do not play here.

      malcolm.macleod.562 - 2012-08-24 10:35

      So we don't let convicted fraudsters out to play golf without serving any jail time. We don't periodically let rapists out of jail because it is the presidents birthday? No sir, we are for sure a serious country, no playing here!

      johan.pieters - 2012-08-24 12:22

      actually, they need to send him to Texas. Sane Murderer=Death Sentance

  • shirley.steenkamp - 2012-08-24 10:27

    Sounds like a South African sentence-no value for the lives lost!

  • stanford.mbizo - 2012-08-24 10:28

    77 lives = 21 years of a madman plus the life he will live when he gets out of jail. Its ridiculous to say the list. This man needed a time of at least 77x75 years in jail.

  • Chris_420 - 2012-08-24 10:30


  • singatha.jongihlati - 2012-08-24 10:38

    OMG!!! 21 years for 77 Murders?????

  • remona.smith.1 - 2012-08-24 10:38

    Only 21 years??? WTF

  • AdeleFHM - 2012-08-24 10:39

    Ridiculous! Only 21? Come on Norway, you can do better than that- this guy is a monster!

  • david.hind.77 - 2012-08-24 10:39

    Something is not right with there ruling system. He should of had 69 indiviudaul counts of murder laid against him and 203 individual charges of attempted murder.... This ruling means he will get just over 3 months per murder...if he serves the maximum time. Shocking

  • davorin.dobrovic - 2012-08-24 10:40

    that's three and a half months per person he killed. So the court thinks that it's less of a crime with the more people you kill?

  • damonsb - 2012-08-24 10:44

    Hey...Another guy robbed a bank and got life...this guy gets a holiday

  • singatha.jongihlati - 2012-08-24 10:45

    And guys in our shock and all, we missed one important detail..:"he is jailed for a minimum of 10 years." Absolutely outrageous,the law is beyond being an ass.*spits*

  • veldt66 - 2012-08-24 10:46

    He reminds me of our own mass killer who went around shooting people in Pretoria. He got released after a short time in prison & he stills run around Pretoria full of racial hatred. I mean Barend S.

  • samantha.5243 - 2012-08-24 10:50

    "Breivik, aged 33, will be kept in isolation inside Ila Prison on the outskirts of Oslo inside relatively spacious quarters that include a separate exercise room, a computer and a television." WOW!!!- this is what he gets for murdering all those children!!!!- he should be thrown in a cramped dark cell for the rest of his life- shocking!

      Charles - 2012-08-24 21:53

      It's amazing how backward parts of Europe are. We have (hopefully) all evolved from Apartheid, yet others we always considered more "enlightened" destroy our illusions. Or is it 'delusions'?

  • adriaan.pieterse - 2012-08-24 10:51

    Wait till you hear how nice the Jail environment is. They have flat like cells, that means a bedroom a bathroom and a study. They have access to education from Primary to University level. They also have a fully kitted gym as well as a PC to use obviously all medical costs are covered and you have food given to you. It's like a 5 star penthouse. Commiting crime in Norway is actually a rewarding experience thats why this oke is smiling all the way. It's rediculous...

  • Hemlock - 2012-08-24 10:54

    This is really shocking...only 21 years? Life is cheap in some countries. He must never be allowed to see the light of day again. Justice has not been served..!!!!!!!

  • lasherza - 2012-08-24 10:56

    WTF!!!!!!! 21 Years for multiple murder. What kind of justice is this ??.. Im shocked beyond words he should spend the rest of his living years in a cell without windows!!!

  • ever.ryman - 2012-08-24 10:56

    The article does say that officials have the ability to prevent his release indefinitely-and you can bet that they will. So he will certainly not be out in the minimum of 10 years and in all probability, will never be free-which is as it should be. This is a case where the death penalty is absolutely justified-but that would simply create a right-wing martyr. Bergie is right-he will get what he deserves.

  • candice.pillay.37266 - 2012-08-24 11:05

    That face looks so evil!!!

  • bevan.carpenter.1 - 2012-08-24 11:07

    what a joke, 21 years maximum sentence in Norway, should be 21 years per victim he slaughter, i hope the jails there worse than here.

      brendon.nel.7 - 2012-08-24 11:13

      Don't bet ur money on it. If the turn gets 21 years for the murder of 77 people u can bet its nice and cozy. Execute the bastard!

  • nazley.jackson - 2012-08-24 11:15

    at the age of 54 when he come out of jail he can still continue with he's sick mission.

  • alysha.b.angel - 2012-08-24 11:18

    I live in Norway and for this guy, the sentince of death would be adaquit for him... but Norway lacks the death penalty , but in my opinion should bring it back as this guys views are also shared by many Norwagians , my self as well.. but i wont go on a killing spree , just boot them out of the country...

      aphiwe.mayola - 2012-08-24 11:29

      Where u from? Who must be booted out again, sorry am not following... Muslims?

  • lodewyk.fred - 2012-08-24 11:30

    This is exactly what he wanted. Made his point well. Walked out of this whole thing victorious.

      george.casper.315 - 2012-08-24 11:37

      Hey let's all go to Norway and commit a crime, They live better than my family and I............. the criminals !

      maylani.bezuidenhout - 2012-08-24 11:39

      not really, he didn't want a prison term so I hope they keep him in there for his whole life like a rat in a box. Fortunately they can extend his imprisonment. Bit shocked that maximum is only 21 years though. SA should be allowed to extend because many so called life sentences end up not being that.

  • shaun.knoesen.9 - 2012-08-24 11:33

    21 years for killing 77 people? Seriously? "will be kept in isolation inside Ila Prison on the outskirts of Oslo inside relatively spacious quarters that include a separate exercise room, a computer and a television." SERIOUSLY!!!?? There is a lot wrong with this world. . .

  • chris.herselman - 2012-08-24 11:53

    That's a maximum of 4 months in prison per person killed.... hmmmmmmm

  • poshm.mis - 2012-08-24 12:02

    l wonder what was considered when the `maximum sentence` was put in place. I bet only the politicians, who always serve their own interests were consulted and not the masses. Where is the logic in getting 21 years in prison at tax payers expense, for killing 77 people.

  • grant.cloete.9 - 2012-08-24 12:02

    This is the kind of prison that this mass-murdered will go to.,29307,1989083,00.html

  • charl.albertyn - 2012-08-24 12:09

    Give him 21 years in Polsmoor, sure, see how sane he is after that.

  • khutso.b - 2012-08-24 12:10

    21yrs maximum???? Norwagian government is too soft.. the guy is so arrogant, doesn't show any remorse... he deserves 21 life sentences!

  • jan.dupreez.31 - 2012-08-24 12:19

    Here's an idea of what's waiting for him :,29307,1989083_2137368,00.html Consists of eleven photos.

      jan.dupreez.31 - 2012-08-24 12:22

      Correction... and idea of what "may" be waiting for him. It's not guaranteed that he will go to this particular prison.

      johan.pieters - 2012-08-24 12:27

      Dude, I've been on holidays in Sun International Hotels that's worse looking...

      rajesh.naidoo.3 - 2012-08-24 12:30

      that is why he went on a killing spree, he knew the loophole on their law system and the lack of mathematics 1 murdered x1 murderer = 21years. 77 murdered x1 murderer still = 21 years

  • stella.ndou.3 - 2012-08-24 12:21

    that nothing

  • sidney.gilroy - 2012-08-24 12:29

    21 Years for 77 People. Wow. Good ratio. That`s less than 3 months per life he took. Massmurders are quite a species on their own.

  • therese.wilhelmsen.9 - 2012-08-24 14:11

    Ok, he got 21 years of custody. How hard is that to understand? Did most of you not read this properly? What all of you guys apparently don't know or understand is that the sentence can (and will!) be extended as long as he is considered to be too dangerous to be released (which we all know he is!). He is never going to get out of prison. After 21 years, he will have a new trial, where he once again will get 21 years of custody, and so on - until he rots alone in his isolation cell. Its the same as getting a lifetime sentence - but they give him 21 years at a time... - So for all of you unaware people, I just wanted to explain to you that: BREIVIK IS NEVER GETTING OUT OF PRISON!

  • hendrik.fleming - 2012-08-24 15:49

    Even though the maximum is 21 years, it can be extended definitely if he is viewed as a danger to other people. And I find it very funny that you can so easily criticize Norway, which has less than 1% of the crime rate of SA.

  • eugene.brink.9 - 2012-08-24 18:07

    Why is this such a shock to everyone? In SA you can get off scot-free for killing someone or even several people.

  • eric.f.moloi - 2012-08-25 09:20

    He wont miss an outside world cos everthing is there,computer,television,gymnasium,he is in a free hotel,with de computer he will push his ideologies further:smell danger here

  • ajjordaan - 2012-09-01 17:43

    But officials can prevent his release indefinitely and are expected to do so

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