Anders Behring Breivik, known as the Norway Killer, grinned as a judge in an Oslo court sentenced him today to 25 years in prison for the murder of 77 people during a bombing and shooting spree in July 2011. Broadcast live on Norwegian television, Breivik, dressed in a black suit, addressed the court with a fascist one-armed salute as he was lead in the courtroom to hear the verdict in the presence of the victims’’ family members and survivors of the attacks.
While Breivik, 33, received this maximum sentence of 21 years, he will be eligible for parole in 10 years. However, Breivik will only be released once he is no longer declared a threat to society, even after serving his full sentence. Citing a former Norwegian prosecutor, Breivik will likely remain in prison for the rest of his life, according to the Associated Press.
At issue during the trial was whether or not Breivik was legally sane when he committed the murders. Breivik strongly contested the findings of two court-appointed psychiatrists who declared that he suffered from paranoid schizophrenia. Instead, Breivik has maintained that he is a political combatant who is waging war against what he claims is an invasion of Islamism and multiculturalism in Norway and in Europe. Breivik has also refused to acknowledge the legality of the court’s authority during his trial, while expressing his fears that a court judgment declaring him insane would undermine his political credibility.
Most Norwegians agree that Breivik was mentally competent at the time when he planted a bomb that killed eight in Oslo’s government district and shot 69 people, mostly teenagers, at a nearby camp. According to a survey in the Norwegian tabloid Verdens Gang (VG), 72 % of Norwegian adults consider Breivik sufficiently mentally competent to stand trial. The survey also revealed that 54 % of Norwegian adults think that Breivik’s prison conditions are too lax.
Indeed, Breivik’s prison conditions are comfortable, even by European standards. His sentence is also a far cry from a likely death penalty judgment he would have faced had he been proven guilty in a U.S. criminal court.
Breivik will serve his sentence at Ila prison, which is fewer than 10 miles away from Oslo. However, Breivik will not be able to benefit from the prison’s facilities like the other prisoners are able to, according to the Associated Press. Prisoners held at Ila, for example, are normally able to attend high school- or university-level classes and are able to earn money while working at different shops in the prison.
Instead, Breivik will live alone in a three-room cell, which measures 86 square feet, according to the Associated Press. One room of the holding cell will serve as an office where he will have access to a laptop PC. He will also have his private bedroom in the cell and an exercise room.
As a self-proclaimed writer and political activist, Breivik says he will spend much of his time writing books, one of which is an autobiography.