The Norwegian man who killed 77 people in mass murder spree last summer has been ruled legally sane and will be sent to prison, instead of psychiatric care. Breivik will be sentenced to 21 years in prison, the maximum allowable sentence under Norwegian law, but can be held indefinitely as long as he is considered a threat to society.
The ruling is actually the result the Breivik had hoped for and one that prosecutors had feared. An anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim extremist, Breivik never denied committing the crimes, but had claimed his attack was part of war against multiculturalism in Norway and an attack against a government that had allowed outsider to invade the country and all of Europe. Most of the killing took place at a Labour Party youth camp on Utoya Island, where Breivik shot 69 people, mostly teenagers. Breivik had feared that an insanity verdict would discredit his beliefs and the worldwide movement that he claims he belonged to.
Despite the 21 year sentence, Breivik could remain in jail much longer, as his sentence can be extended for as long as the government believes him to be dangerous. Breivik had said he will not appeal a verdict that rules him sane, but prosecutors may decide to. The judge in the case spent several hours reading the 90 page verdict out loud in the courtroom, including a extensive and graphic recounting of his crimes.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.