Norwegian court reviews Breivik’s request for release from prison

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The accused Norwegian Anders Behring Breivik in the courtroom. (Archive image) © Hakon Mosvold/NTB Scanpix/dpa

In 2011, Anders Breivik killed 77 people in Norway. The crimes are among the worst terrorist attacks in post-war Europe. Now the perpetrator appears again in court.

Oslo – Around a decade after the right-wing extremist terrorist attacks in Oslo and on the island of Utøya, the perpetrator’s application for early release is being negotiated in Norway.

Starting Tuesday, Telemark District Court will consider whether convicted mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik can be released on parole after the minimum term of his sentence has expired.

Essentially, the court in Skien, around 130 kilometers southwest of Oslo, has to clarify the question of whether Breivik continues to pose a threat to society. It has scheduled three negotiation days and one reserve day this week. At the start on Tuesday, after introductory words from the prosecutor and the defense, a statement by Breivik is scheduled. A court order is expected to be announced at a later date, possibly as early as next week.

Massacres on Utøya

The 42-year-old Breivik, who now calls himself Fjotolf Hansen, detonated a car bomb in the government district of Oslo on July 22, 2011, killing eight people. He then massacred the participants of the annual summer camp of the youth wing of the Social Democratic Labor Party on Utøya. 69 mostly young people were killed on the island. The crimes are considered the worst act of violence in Norway’s post-war period.

Breivik named right-wing extremist and Islamophobic motives for his actions. In the summer of 2012 he was sentenced by the Oslo District Court to the maximum sentence at the time of 21 years in preventive detention with a minimum term of ten years. This time frame included 445 days in custody. The minimum period thus expired on June 5, 2021, and the custody period is also deemed to have ended on June 5, 2032. In contrast to a normal prison sentence, however, preventive detention means that the sentence can be extended every five years – and thus it remains open whether Breivik will ever be released from prison in Skien. The hearing will also take place in the detention center.

Application for “release on probation”

Breivik had applied for “prøveløslatelse” in September 2020 – which literally means “release on trial”. However, even ten and a half years after the terrorist attacks, the public prosecutor still considers him to be someone who could commit serious crimes again and therefore to be a danger to Norwegian society. She is therefore striving for him to remain behind bars.

It is unlikely that Breivik will be released early. At his sentencing, the Oslo court found that even after he had served his sentence, it was likely that he would continue to have the intention and ability to commit many and very violent murders. 21 years after the acts, the Norwegian democracy, which he wants to abolish, will continue to exist, the judges wrote in their verdict – including residents of different ethnic backgrounds, cultures and religions. dpa

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