Norway's mass killer charged

Updated: 2012-03-08 00:38


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OSLO - Norway's mass killer Anders Behring Breivik was charged on Wednesday with acts of terrorism and premeditated murder for his deadly twin attacks in the country.

As many as 77 people were killed in the bombing attack in downtown Oslo and the killing on Utoeya, an island 40 km west of the Norwegian capital, on July 22, 2011, which Breivik admitted he had made but pleaded not guilty.

The 19-page document, which contains the sequence of the attacks, was read to Breivik in the lla prison at 10:00 am (0900 GMT) on Wednesday by prosecutors Inga Bejer Engh and Svein Holden.

In the bomb explosion at the government quarters in Olso, eight people were killed and over 200 others were injured.

After carrying out the attack in Oslo, Breivik arrived at Utoeya hours later and went on a shooting spree a semiautomatic rifle and a semiautomatic pistol till he was arrested, resulting in the deaths of 69 people, mostly members of the Youth League of the ruling Labor Party, according to the prosecutors.

The charges against Breivik were made under the Penal Code section 147 for committing a terrorist act and based on the first expert report, which concludes that Breivik is insane. So the prosecutors have asked for his being transferred to compulsory mental health care.

"As things stand now, the conditions to punish him is not present," said Prosecutor Bejer Engh.

However, the prosecutors said that they were prepared to seek a prison sentence for the defendant if the evidence picture changes during the trial, which is scheduled to start on July 16.

As the first expert report on Breivik's mental state, which was submitted by psychiatrists Synne Soerheim and Torgeir Husby, sparked hot debates, the Oslo District Court asked two other psychiatrists - Terje Dry Ice and Agnar Aspaas - to come with a new report based on their observation and analysis.

All the four experts would attend the trial sessions and explain and present their views in the court, said Bejer Engh.

If Breivik was sane when he committed the crimes, the maximum conventional prison sentence would be 21 years for charges up to and including murder and terrorism.

For criminals who are likely to repeat their crimes, the court can issue a special sentence known as "forvaring," under which the maximum imprisonment is also 21 years. But after that period, the court can extend custody by up to five years at a time without limit.

If the judges agree that Breivik was psychotic on July 22, the only choice for them would be to sentence him to mandatory psychiatric care.

In any case, the trial will proceed without regard to the psychiatric issue until near the end.