Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik will appear in court on Tuesday after 10 years behind bars, claiming he is no longer a danger to society and seeking an early release from his 21-year sentence.
The far-right terrorist has shown no remorse since he killed 77 people in a 2011 bomb-and-gun massacre, and victims’ families and survivors fear he will flaunt his extreme views during the hearing, which experts say it is unlikely to release it early. .
Randi Rosenqvist, the psychiatrist who has followed Breivik since his incarceration in 2012, says, “I can say I don’t detect any major changes in Breivik’s functioning,” since his criminal trial when he bragged about the scale of his killing, or his human 2016. human rights case, when he raised his hand in a Nazi salute.
“In principle and in practice, someone seeking parole would have to show remorse and show that they understand why such acts cannot be repeated,” he said.
She will testify at her hearing and present the psychiatric report, which is often crucial if criminals want to prove they are no longer dangerous.
“That is unlikely to happen,” said Berit Johnsen, a research professor at the University College of the Norwegian Correctional Service. “I think it is quite obvious that there is still a high risk that he will commit further crimes if he is released.”
The hearing is due to last three days, but the verdict will not be announced for several weeks.
It was on July 22, 2011 that, after months of meticulous preparations, Breivik blew up a car bomb outside the government headquarters in Oslo, killing eight people and injuring dozens. He then drove to the island of Utøya, where he opened fire on the annual summer camp of the youth wing of the left-wing Labor Party. Sixty-nine people there died, most of them teenagers, before Breivik turned himself in to police.
In 2012, Breivik received the maximum sentence of 21 years with a clause, rarely used in the Norwegian justice system, that he can be held in detention indefinitely if he is still considered a danger to society. It is this clause that means you can demand a parole hearing after 10 years. And while this likely means a life sentence, it also opens up the possibility that Breivik could demand annual parole hearings where he can air his views, says Johnsen.
“Under Norwegian law, he now has the right to appear before a judge,” said Øystein Storrvik, Breivik’s defense attorney. “He emphasizes that right. And it’s hard for me to have an opinion about his motivation to do it.”
Storrvik confirmed that Breivik will call Swedish neo-Nazi Per Oberg to speak in his defense. Otherwise, he would not outline the basis of Breivik’s case, but he made it clear that no one should expect repentance.
“According to the law, there is no obligation for you to be repentant,” Storrvik said. “So it’s not a legal main point. Absolutely the legal problem is if it is dangerous”.
Lisbeth Kristine Røyneland, who runs a support group for families and survivors, fears that giving Breivik a platform could inspire like-minded ideologues. “I think he’s doing this as a way to get attention. The only thing I am afraid of is if he gets the opportunity to speak freely and convey his extreme views to like-minded people,” he said.
He pointed to the case of Norwegian shooter Philip Manshaus who, inspired by the 2019 New Zealand terror attacks, murdered his stepsister and tried to storm a mosque.
Breivik has a way of bragging to try to further his extremist goals. During his 2012 trial, he entered the courtroom every day shaking his fist and telling grieving parents he wished he had killed more. He has been trying to start a fascist party in prison and contacted right-wing extremists in Europe and the United States by mail. Prison officials seized many of those letters for fear that Breivik would inspire others to commit violent attacks.
In 2016, he sued the government, saying his isolation from other prisoners, frequent strip searches and the fact that he was often handcuffed during the early part of his incarceration violated his human rights. He gave a Nazi salute to journalists during the case that he initially won but was overturned by higher courts in 2017.
Beyond providing a pulpit for the killer, the case could reopen psychological wounds for the families of the victims and survivors, says Røyneland.
“Personally I think it is absurd that he has this possibility. I think it’s ridiculous, but you have to remember that having all this attention is going to be hard on survivors and parents, and some people can be re-traumatized.”
At the time of the attacks, Breivik claimed to be the commander of a secret Christian military order plotting an anti-Muslim revolution in Europe. Investigators found no trace of the group. In 2016 he described himself as a traditional neo-Nazi and said his previous crusader image was just for show.
Breivik has three cells to himself in the high-security wing of Skien prison. The cells are equipped with video game consoles, television, DVD player, electronic typewriter, newspapers, and exercise machines. You also have daily access to a larger exercise yard. Rosenqvist said his conditions are “excellent” and that he has been given the opportunity to pass his high school exams and is now studying at the university level.
The court that convicted him in 2012 found him criminally sane and rejected the prosecution’s view that he was psychotic. Breivik did not appeal his sentence.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism