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Anders Brevik sentenced to 21 years for mass murder

Published by Daily Trust on Sat, 25 Aug 2012

Norwegian right-wing fanatic Anders Behring Breivik was today sentenced to 21 years in jail for mass murder after he was declared sane.The militant extremist, who killed 77 people in a shooting and bombing spree last July, will now be sent to prison rather than a mental hospital. Under Norwegian law, his 'preventative detention' sentence can be extended for as long as he is considered dangerous. He can also challenge the sentence every five years.He had admitted to the murders and repeatedly denied the prosecution's claim that he was insane, insisting he was a political prisoner and his deplorable actions were deliberate and considered rather than those of a madman.Breivik, who will serve a minimum of ten years in prison, murdered eight people by planting a bomb at the government's headquarters in Oslo and shot dead 69 - half of them teenagers - at a youth camp on a nearby island. The anti-Muslim militant looked pleased as Judge Wenche Elisabeth Arntzen read the ruling to the packed district court, declaring him sane enough to be held criminally responsible for Norway's worst peacetime attacks.'In a unanimous decision... the court sentences the defendant to 21 years of preventive detention,' said Judge Arntzen, dismissing the prosecutor's call for a verdict if insanity, which would have confined him indefinitely to psychiatric care.Breivik's lawyers said before the decision that he would accept a prison sentence but appeal any insanity ruling. Oslo's Ila Prison had built a psychiatric ward just for him in case of that result.BREIVIK'S LINKS TO BRITAINAnders Breivik regularly posted on British nationalist websites, and in the manifesto he released before the attacks he referred to a 'mentor' called 'Richard (the Lionhearted)'.Parallels were drawn with former English Defence League member Paul Ray, who ran anti-Muslim blog 'Richard The Lionhearted' and led an anti-Islam movement called the Knights Templar.Breivik wrote of his allegiance to the Knights Templar in his manifesto, describing the group as a secret society created to carry out a crusade against Islam in Europe.He claimed the group was created at a meeting in London in 2002.Mr Ray admitted his blog could have helped inform Breivik's manifesto, but vociferously denied having anything to do with the attacks, condemning Brevik's actions as 'pure evil.'Norwegian police said they had found no trace of an organisation and believed Breivik acted alone. Norway's domestic intelligence chief denied that there was evidence of links between Breivik and the English far-right.The medieval Knights Templar was a Christian military order founded in the early 12th century, which became one of the most formidable fighting forces of the Crusades.Members wore white mantles with a red cross and fought in religiously sanctioned military campaigns waged by kings and nobles, with the main goal of recapturing Jerusalem and the Holy Land from Muslim rule and restoring Christian control.The group was dissolved in 1312.The jail term was handed out after following a two-month deliberation by a five-judge panel.Breivik will now be taken back to the prison, where he has been held in isolation for most of the time since his arrest.The father of a girl killed in the massacre today welcomed the ruling. 'Now we won't hear about him for quite a while. Now we can have peace and quiet,' said Per Balch Soerensen.'He doesn't mean anything to me, he is just air.'The relatively spacious quarters include a separate exercise room, a computer and a television.July 22, 2011Breivik was able to park a van with a fertiliser bomb just outside the government offices before he drove another car to the Labor Party's youth camp on Utoya, unhindered.He stalked his victims across the island while dressed as a policeman, calling to them and tricking them into thinking he was the help sent from shore before shooting them from close range and finishing them off with a shot to the head.The killer surrendered to officers after about an hour of indiscriminate slaughter.The police response was slowed down by a series of blunders, including flaws in communication systems and the breakdown of an overloaded boat carrying a police anti-terror unit to the island.It took them more than an hour to reach Utoya, with Norway's only police helicopter left unused, its crew on vacation.A commission investigating the attack earlier this month concluded that all or part of it could have been prevented and that mistakes by intelligence, police and government likely cost lives.Ministers have faced severe criticism for their actions before and during the attacks.The country's justice minister and police chief both resigned in the aftermath and some critics have called on the prime minister to step down.Though Breivik has admitted the attacks, he rejected criminal guilt during his trial, saying his victims had betrayed their country by embracing a multicultural society.
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