Police: Alleged Norwegian mass murderer faces just 21 years in prison

Jamie Weinstein Senior Writer
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The alleged mass murderer who killed nearly 100 people in Norway on Friday may be facing just 21 years in prison if convicted. Norway does not have the death penalty.

Oslo police chief of staff Roger Andresen told the San Francisco Chronicle that the maximum prison term suspected killer Anders Behring Breivik could face is 21 years under Norwegian law.

Two law professors at the University of Oslo confirmed Andresen’s assessment.

“21 years in prison is the maximum,” Professor Per Ole Johansen told The Daily Caller.

“The max punishment may — theoretically — be increased, but not for crimes which are already committed,” he said, when asked whether it was possible for the punishment to be increased considering the scale of this specific mass crime.

“[I]f the prisoner behaves, he or she will probably be released several years earlier,” Professor Nils Christie told TheDC while also confirming that 21 years is the maximum penalty in Norway.

Christie, however, said it is theoretically possible for the perpetrator to be held in prison longer than 21 years, though it almost never happens.

“If, however, the person is seen as a particular danger to society, the person might receive a sentence that authorize prison authorities to keep him or her even longer when the 21 years are coming close to the end,” he added. “This wish must again be brought up for a court. As far as I know, such a situation nearly never appear.”

Police are labeling the attacks as acts of terrorism, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Breivik, 32, is suspected of being behind attacks Friday that killed at least 76 people and injured many others. A car bombing in the Norwegian capital of Oslo killed eight and a shooting spree at a youth camp on the island of Utoya outside of Oslo killed at least 68, many of whom were teenagers, according to Norwegian authorities.*

“Never since the Second World War has our country been hit by a crime on this scale,” Norway’s Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg said of Friday’s attacks.

Police are investigating reports of a second assailant.

*Correction: This article previously misstated the death toll of the attacks. Police have since lowered the numbers they originally provided over the weekend.

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