Breivik verdict: Norwegians react

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24 August 2012 Last updated at 10:39 ET

A Norwegian court has found that mass killer Anders Behring Breivik is sane and sentenced him to 21 years in jail.

Breivik admitted killing 77 people and wounding more than 240 others when he bombed central Oslo and then opened fire at an island youth camp last year.

Here, readers in Norway react to the verdict.

Helene M Fahre

This verdict is a real relief to everyone here. It is the one we all wanted and we have even talked about celebrating it in our office.

If Breivik was ruled insane, it would have repercussions for this country. It would mean others could be encouraged to do the same.

He knew what he was doing, so he had to take responsibility for his actions.

Everyone in Norway, without exception, was personally affected by this attack.

Due to the size and population of our country, everyone knew someone who lost someone.

So this verdict is being felt very personally by everyone. Most people are going home early to watch the rest of the verdict being delivered.

It is an emotional day. Hopefully we can all get some closure now after today, after a whole year of trials and memorials.

While we will never forget what happened, people want to move on.

Chris-Erik Fotland

My friend Syvert Knudsen was killed on Utoeya island.

He is no longer among us today, but I still miss him for who he was and what he did.

He was heavily involved in politics and met the prime minister the day before he was killed.

I have been following events in court and the headlines every day since Breivik killed my friend.

It is a victory to see him convicted, but it still does not make up for the lives he took.

Seeing him sentenced to 21 years was not a surprise, but it is nowhere near strong enough to account for what he did.

The only sentence that would best serve the punishment for his terrifying crimes against Norway and humankind would be death.

But Norway’s justice system is not like that, unbelievable as it may seem to some people.

He is far too dangerous to ever walk the streets again.

The worst part is that he achieved what he wanted to achieve. He wanted his place in history and he achieved that.

That makes me angry. This will never be over for me.

Rolf Henning Larsen

To the outside world this sentence might seem mild, but this is the harshest form of penalty you can get in this country.

It will also most likely mean that he will never see freedom again.

It can also be reviewed and extended every five years, so that is all we can ask for.

What others must understand is that the penal system in Norway is all about rehabilitation rather than punishment.

This has always been a peaceful country, so everything changed for us on the day of these attacks. It will always be with us.

So to get this verdict is a victory for all Norwegian people.

I think a great relief will spread throughout the country now, with the trials and sentencing done, as long as he does as he says, and does not appeal the court’s decision.

Sevda Clark

This verdict is not only a consolation to people here – especially those who lost loved ones – but is also great news for the judiciary.

There has been pressure from certain politicians on the judiciary system to find Breivik insane.

That way Norway could say to the world the problem is not in our society – he is an aberration.

By finding him sane, the judges have shown independence to do what they think is right, rather than bend under the pressure that some sort of reconciliation process is the better solution.

The verdict will be met with mixed feelings, at the very least by Norwegian politicians.

I am a research fellow of law at the University of Oslo, and colleagues of mine have talked about the possibility that Breivik could be walking the streets in 21 years.

But I have no doubt that the length of the sentence will trigger a debate as to whether or not it is adequate. It might also trigger a change.

Interviews by Stephen Fottrell and Krassimira Twigg.


In : World News

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