- (Reuters/Stoyan Nenov)
A Norwegian man, accused of killing 77 victims in last year's Norway massacre, has been declared mentally sane. However under Norwegian law, he will only face a maximum penalty of 21 years in prison.
Anders Behring Breivik allegedly killed 77 people after bombing a government building and then opening fire at a youth conference. Following the incident, psychiatrist initially predicted that the man was insane while committing the crime. New evidence however, has confirmed that Breivik was fully sane during the incident. Two psychiatrists, appointed by a court in Norway, conducted the report.
Breivik released a 38-page letter to the media last week, which revealed an ideology that according to one expert, exemplified Hitler's way of thinking.
"He's aggressive against people who think differently and who are different. I believe this can be compared with what the Nazis thought in the '30s and '40s, when they believed the Jews had a secret conspiracy plan to take over," Dr Arne Thorvik told the Oslo Times, a Norwegian newspaper.
However, despite the number of victims involved in Breivik's case and the confirmation that he was in fact sane, Breivik will only face a maximum penalty of 21 years. Although Breivik could face an additional 21 years if he is still declared to be a threat at the end of his sentence, many prisoners in Norway serve no more than 14 and are eligible for parole after 10.
Prisoners are also allowed unsupervised parole visits over the weekend after a third of their sentence has been served, in which case Breivik could qualify for weekend visits after only 7 years in prison assuming he receives that maximum penalty.
Public outcry against Norway's maximum penalty broke out immediately after the incident first occurred.
"People like that shouldn't be able to get out among normal people," a 31-year-old Iranian-born shopkeeper identified only as Mustafa told AFP. "If he gets 21 years, how old will he be? 53! No, he's ruined too much to ever get out."
However others still defended the law, insisting that it largely contributed to a better society.
"I think it is very important to keep it that way, despite the gruesome events that have occurred now," Professor Thomas Mathiesen of the University of Oslo told the Daily Caller.
"Norwegian society will gain nothing from a higher punishment level. People of this kind will not become less prone to engage as this man did ... and the punishment level we have now will contribute to Norway staying the relatively humane society that we are proud of and want to live in," he said.