Anders Behring Breivik, Killer in 2011 Norway Massacre, Is Denied Parole
Anders Behring Breivik, the Norwegian terrorist who killed 77 people in gun and bomb attacks in 2011, was denied parole on Tuesday by a Norwegian …
Anders Behring Breivik, the Norwegian terrorist who killed 77 people in gun and bomb attacks in 2011, was denied parole on Tuesday by a Norwegian court that said he “appeared devoid of empathy and compassion for the victims of the terror.”
Mr. Breivik, 42, who has served 10 years of a 21-year sentence for the attacks, showed no signs that his extremist views had waned during his years of incarceration. When the parole hearing began on Jan. 18, he entered the courtroom and made a Nazi-style salute. He also carried and wore signs emblazoned with racist messages, including one that read “Stop your genocide against our white nations.”
Speaking to the judge, Mr. Breivik demanded that he be treated as a prisoner of war.
Judge Dag Bjorvik oversaw the parole hearing, which lasted for two weeks and was held at Skien prison for security reasons.
Mr. Breivik’s lawyer, Oystein Storrvik, confirmed that his client would appeal the verdict, after expressing pessimism at the start of the hearing. “No Norwegian lawyer wants a case to begin with a Hitler salute,” he said in an interview with The Times last month. He said he was not particularly concerned with Mr. Breivik winning his parole, adding that his long-term strategy was to “improve the conditions under which he is sitting” in prison.
On July 22, 2011, Mr. Breivik detonated a fertilizer bomb in downtown Oslo, killing eight people. He then went on a shooting rampage at a summer camp on the island of Utoya, killing 69 people, most of them teenagers. The camp was organized by the youth arm of the country’s center-left Labor Party.
The judgment said Mr. Breivik “verbally expressed grief over those affected — but at the same time, he defended and possibly legitimized his actions by saying that most of those affected on Utoya were not children, but people with ‘leadership positions.’ This despite the fact that he must know that among those killed were children as young as 14 years old.”
At the start of the parole hearing, Hulda Karlsdottir, the lead prosecutor, said that Mr. Breivik should remain in prison and that he would “remain dangerous after serving his sentence.”
She added: “Both the survivors and relatives alike are left with bottomless grief, and the atrocities committed are unparalleled in Norwegian history.”
Mr. Breivik, who legally changed his name to Fjotolf Hansen in 2017, said he had carried out the attack as part of a violent campaign against a Muslim invasion of Europe, which he said was contributing to the country’s “cultural suicide.”
Mr. Breivik was convicted on terrorism and murder charges in 2012 and sentenced to 21 years in prison, the maximum under Norwegian law. The sentence can be extended indefinitely if he is deemed a continued threat to society.
The parole hearing revived memories of the most horrific crime in modern Norwegian history, and showcased the extremist views of the country’s neo-Nazi fringe.
In past court appearances, Mr. Breivik has betrayed little emotion when recounting his deeds. His crimes, which he detailed in a sprawling 1,500 page tract discovered after the attacks, have since influenced right-wing extremists around the world, including an American white nationalist, Christopher Paul Hasson, who was indicted on federal gun and drug charges and accused of plotting to commit mass murder.
Mr. Breivik last appeared before Norwegian and European courts in 2016 to argue that his long-term solitary confinement amounted to torture. He is being held in a three-room suite that includes a treadmill, a refrigerator, a television with a DVD player and a Sony PlayStation. He has also threatened to go on a hunger strike.
Lisbeth Kristine Royneland, a spokeswoman forthe families of victims and survivors of the attacks, said she had worried that Mr. Breivik would use the hearing as a platform to expose his brand of violent extremism. “There should be as little focus as possible on the terrorist and his message,” said Ms. Royneland, whose daughter Synne Royneland was killed during the attack on Utoya.
Pal Grondahl, a forensic psychologist in Oslo who has followed the case, said in an interview that Mr. Breivik seemed “to be very much the Breivik we saw both in 2012 and 2016.” He added: “Based on his behavior so far, he appears to be seeking attention without empathy, and he has some grand illusions about himself.”