Oslo: Norwegians reacted with calm or indifference as mass killer Anders Behring Breivik was jailed for a maximum term of 21 years on Friday when judges declared him sane enough to answer for the murder of 77 people last year, drawing a smirk of triumph from the self-styled fighter against Islam.
An unrepentant Breivik, 33, gave the Oslo court a stiff-armed, clench-fisted salute before being handed the steepest possible penalty uder Norwegian law. His release, however, can be put off indefinitely should he still pose a threat to a liberal society left traumatised by his bomb and shooting rampage last July. He will not appeal, his lawyer said. “He told me he will accept this verdict,” Geir Lippestad told Reuters.
“He is getting what he deserves,” said Alexandra Peltre, 18, whom Breivik shot in the thigh on Utoeya. “This is karma striking back at him. I do not care if he is insane or not, as long as he gets the punishment that he deserves.”
A lawyer for some victims and their families said they, too, were satisfied: “I am pleased, although that’s not really the right word, and relieved. This is what we hoped for,” said Mette Yvonne Larsen, who represented some of those affected in court.
“I have already received many messages from clients telling me this is justice served and they are happy it’s over and will never have to see him again.”
Justifying blasting a government building and gunning down dozens of teenagers at a summer camp as a service to a nation threatened by immigration, Breivik had said only acquittal or death would be worthy outcomes. But his biggest concern was being declared insane - the sole verdict he had said he would appeal.
Judge Wenche Elizabeth Arntzen dismissed a prosecution call for her to label Breivik mad, a ruling that would have seen him confined indefinitely to psychiatric care rather than prison.
Some survivors of the slaughter at the Labour party youth camp on Utoeya island had been keen to see Breivik held clearly responsible for his actions - and to avoid the insanity verdict that would have triggered lengthy and traumatic appeal hearings.
For many Norwegians, still shocked by their bloodiest day since World War Two, the details were academic, however.
Breivik will now 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.