Anders Behring Breivik Sentenced to 21 Years in Prison

August 24, 2012 -

The New York Times reports that mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik has been sentenced to 21 years in prison after an Oslo, Norway court ruled that he was sane when he killed 77 people. While the sentence for his shooting spree may seem short, the court has the ability to extend the sentence if he is considered a danger to society. Brevik's conviction is the harshest sentence permitted under Norwegian law. If he had been found to be insane during the time of his crime he would not be punished under Norwegian law.

The 33-year-old Norwegian man claimed that the attacks last year were part of what he called a "campaign against multiculturalism in Norway." Brevik did not seem upset when he judge handed down the sentence - in fact he smiled in court on Friday when hearing the verdict and then raised his hand in a "right-wing" salute...

Many in the media in Europe and even in the United States tried to blame Call of Duty and World of Warcraft for influencing Brevik - mostly because he mentioned using Call of Duty to "train" and World of Warcraft to relax.

Judge Wenche Elizabeth Arntzen said that the decision reached by a five-member panel that heard the case had been unanimous. She also rejected Breivik’s claims that his actions were tied to a network called the Knights Templar, noting that there was no evidence to support the claim.

Breivik will serve his sentence in isolation at Ila prison near Oslo. Norwegian prison are notoriously accommodating; Brevik will live in a three-room cell with an exercise area, a television set and a laptop computer not connected to the Internet, according to the New York Times report.

Source: New York Times


Comments

Re: Anders Behring Breivik Sentenced to 21 Years in Prison

While the sentence for his shooting spree may seem short, the court has the ability to extend the sentence if he is considered a danger to society.

He murdered 77 people. At what point does one become a "danger to society"?

 

Re: Anders Behring Breivik Sentenced to 21 Years in Prison

I think that possibly the word "remains" or "continued" should be in there somewhere. Basically he'll probably have some kind of therapy to try to make him less of a nutcase while he's inside.

Re: Anders Behring Breivik Sentenced to 21 Years in Prison

I don't know why this is on GamePolitics -- what did this have to do with gaming again?

Also, I find it a little bizarre how critical everyone seems to be of Norway's sentencing. Norway's Rape and Murder rates are half that of the United States; I'd give them the benefit of the doubt before claiming their judicial system is insufficient.

Also, if I'm reading this right, the sentence is effectively Life in Prison with Chance of Parole after 21 Years. The only difference is that the courts need to confirm that he is a threat to not release him, rather than the honus being on the prisoner to prove that he is safe for release.

Re: Anders Behring Breivik Sentenced to 21 Years in Prison

"I don't know why this is on GamePolitics -- what did this have to do with gaming again?"

"Many in the media in Europe and even in the United States tried to blame Call of Duty and World of Warcraft for influencing Brevik - mostly because he mentioned using Call of Duty to "train" and World of Warcraft to relax."

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: Anders Behring Breivik Sentenced to 21 Years in Prison

And the baring this had on the case beyond the first few weeks of panicked yelping from unresearched news people being...?

I'm assuming the "many" was supposed to imply people with some sort of influence, sure. But did that go anywhere? Are people still citing this as a 'gaming crime', or making policy based on it? I'll give you that it may have had some initial, vague relevance, but does it still hold any relevance?

Re: Anders Behring Breivik Sentenced to 21 Years in Prison

"And the baring this had on the case beyond the first few weeks of panicked yelping from unresearched news people being...?"

Politicians and other pundits too but nothing so far as I know.  Still, this is the type of stuff GamePolitics reports on.

"I'm assuming the "many" was supposed to imply people with some sort of influence, sure."

Keith Vaz, off the top of my head.

"But did that go anywhere?"

Vaz tabled a motion for the gov't to look more closely at FPS games before they're published, the ACL called for a ban on games, and several mental health professionals looked into it and saw no connection.

"Are people still citing this as a 'gaming crime', or making policy based on it?"

Not recently so far as I can recall.

"I'll give you that it may have had some initial, vague relevance, but does it still hold any relevance?"

To the type of news we cover here?  Of course it does.  This is (essentially) the end of a story we've written 10 or so articles about.  It would be weird if we didn't cover it.

Oh, and the initial relevance (again, to the type of news we cover here) was not vague.

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: Anders Behring Breivik Sentenced to 21 Years in Prison

Listening to people from Norway, I believe you are correct.  After 21 years he will be up for parole, but it is highly unlikely he will ever be released.

Though if I am reading the stats correctly, Norway is closer to 1/10th the murder rate of the US (US ~6 per 100,000, Norway ~0.6 per 100,000).. so spread out across the population their legal judicial system (and related institutions, since crime is pretty complex) seem to be working well together.

Though from reading some of the quotes from the trial, it sounds like the insanity plea was rejected for political reasons rather then medical ones... something about them not being able to confront radicalism if this example is simply considered mentally ill.  Which is probably a lucky break since institutionalization is, in many ways, worse then prision.

Re: Anders Behring Breivik Sentenced to 21 Years in Prison

That's something like three months for each person he killed... talk about justice...

Woqqo

Re: Anders Behring Breivik Sentenced to 21 Years in Prison

Golly.  If you're going to murder dozens of people, Norway's the place to do it!

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: Anders Behring Breivik Sentenced to 21 Years in Prison

How is 21 years getting off easy? Locking people away for the remainder of their lives doesn't fix the problem, they just become a burden for the public to support; it doesn't help society and it definitely doesn't help the offender reform. We are all products of our culture. This person wasn't born a mass murder, he learned to be one through his experiences. His actions are as much to blame on his social environment as much as it is himself.

Norway's penal system is different in its application. They don't put people in cages to rot for their sentence like they do in the US. They are put on a farm where they have to work to feed and care for themselves. They have to cook their own meals, do their own laundry, do their own chores, and just generally contribute to the upkeep of their prison community if they want to live. They actually make an effort to reform people that commit crimes by teaching them how to live peacefully and productively.

-Greevar

"Paste superficially profound, but utterly meaningless quotation here."

Re: Anders Behring Breivik Sentenced to 21 Years in Prison

So, doing the math comes out to three months for brutally murdering someone.  Three months of feeding and bathing myself for murdering somebody who didn't agree with me politically.

If you think that is a long enough prison sentence, then I hope you never run into a real life criminal.

--- With the first link, the chain is forged.

Re: Anders Behring Breivik Sentenced to 21 Years in Prison

Yes, because locking people up and/or applying capital punishment has been so very effective. /sarc

You appear to think that punishment for punishment's sake is imperative here. "We must punish him, regardless of whether that nets any beneficial effect." How does separating this person from society indefinitely do anyone any good? The damage has been done. Isn't the proper solution to rehabilitate this person so he can actually some day do something to at least try to make up for the damage he as done? The penal system needs to serve to repair the damage that was done, to both the convict and society. We all live in an unequal society, and inequality breeds deviant behavior at all levels of society.

People aren't born criminals, society and culture shapes people to be that way. It was equally the fault of his environment that produced a mentally disturbed human being. If you're raised by Mormons, what do you tend to be? You tend to be a Mormon. If you're raised to solve interpersonal conflicts through physical violence, then that's the kind of person you tend to become. Everyone is a product of their culture, some have a genetic vulnerability towards one more than others though. This person was clearly mentally unfit from the start and his experiences influenced him into the person he is now. Clearly, this person was subjected to some equally horrible events to bring him to this point. It doesn't excuse what he did, but it does explain it and presents a starting point for making up for the damage that was done.

So no, I don't think longer prison sentences are the right thing to do. It doesn't help the convict and it places a burden on society to keep him incarcerated instead of helping a person be a healthy, contributing member of society or at least minimize their deviant behavior. Evidenced by the significant failures of our own penal system, I think we should take the time to seriously rethink how it should be done.

 

-Greevar

"Paste superficially profound, but utterly meaningless quotation here."

Re: Anders Behring Breivik Sentenced to 21 Years in Prison

It isn't the actual time that will be spent in prison.  He effectively got life.

Re: Anders Behring Breivik Sentenced to 21 Years in Prison

Are you sure you didn't intend that as a standalone post?  Because it really doesn't make sense as a reply to mine.  All I did was make the observation that Breivik's crime would have drawn a stricter sentence and a less accommodating cell in most other countries.  I didn't claim he got off easy nor did I opine on anything else you argued in your two paragraph response.

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: Anders Behring Breivik Sentenced to 21 Years in Prison

You really should think about what you say a little more closely and consider what it might imply, because that one implies that if you commit mass murder in Norway, your penalty will be very lenient. It also ignores the possibility that they are making other efforts to solve the problem beyond punitive action. I pointed out that they do more than lock people up. Just because the sentence is limited to 21 years, doesn't mean the person is getting a less discipline. Like I said, Norwegian penal system focuses more on rehabilitation of the offender than reciprocity.

You jumped to the conclusion that 21 years of incarceration is all there is to his sentence. People tend to forget that not every nation does prison the way America does prison.

-Greevar

"Paste superficially profound, but utterly meaningless quotation here."

Re: Anders Behring Breivik Sentenced to 21 Years in Prison

"You really should think about what you say a little more closely and consider what it might imply, because that one implies that if you commit mass murder in Norway, your penalty will be very lenient."

Compared to other places?  It is.

"It also ignores the possibility that they are making other efforts to solve the problem beyond punitive action."

No it doesn't.  It's still comparing those efforts to how other places go about it.

"You jumped to the conclusion that 21 years of incarceration is all there is to his sentence."

I did no such thing.  The only one jumping to conclusions here (and incorrect ones at that) is you.

"People tend to forget that not every nation does prison the way America does prison."

I suppose some do but that's certainly an odd thing to bring up when my comment explicitly makes the point that different countries (not specifically America) do things differently.

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: Anders Behring Breivik Sentenced to 21 Years in Prison

The irony is the US (well, the Quaker sections of it) was the place that pioneered the idea of rehabilitation... but the Quakers got kicked out of power (ah, the downsides of tollerance.. they let anyone into their region, gave them the ability to vote, but they just didn't hate enough so they were voted out) and the US has slowly gotten more bloodthristy over the years.

You just can't compete with a system that encourages sadism but tells you that you are still perfectly moral as long as you pick your victim correctly.

 
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