Anders Behring Breivik (33) has admitted to carrying out a July 2011 bomb attack in Oslo, followed by a shooting rampage at an island youth camp near the Norwegian capital. The butcher's bill for the attacks amounted to 77 killed. Breivik was formally charged on March 7 with terrorism and premeditated murder, while prosecutors prepare for a trial in April.
Norwegian prosecutors will initially seek a sentence of psychiatric care for the professed murderer, but could demand a 21 year prison sentence as well. This is the maximum allowed in Norway under these circumstances.
Breivik has said that his victims, many of whom were young members of Norway's Labour Party, were "traitors" because of their supposed pro-immigrant attitudes. "The defendant has committed highly serious crimes of a dimension we have no previous experience with in our society in modern times," prosecutor Svein Holden said. The prosecutor added that the murders included "aggravating circumstances" but did not amount to crimes against humanity under Norwegian law.
There had been speculation Breivik might face charges under Norway's crimes-against-humanity law, which would provide a maximum 30-year sentence. However, experts said Norway's law applies to widespread, systematic atrocities rather than the acts of an individual such as Breivik.
Brevik received the charges in prison as he awaits trial. The maximum conventional prison sentence for murder in Norway is 21 years, but courts are permitted to extend custody indefinitely if a violent, sane convict is considered likely to repeat his crimes. As for Breivik, he has been quoted as saying that he deserves a medal for his actions. He has largely been labeled as anti-Islam, but his esoteric political and social views evidence hostility to a wide range of groups, including Christians.