‘I wish to apologise that I wasn’t able to execute more’

Anders Breivik has said he will not appeal against his prison sentence for the massacre of 77 people in bomb and gun attacks in Norway last year.

At the end of his sentencing hearing, Breivik said appealing against the judgment would “legitimise” the court.

He also apologised to “militant nationalists” for not having killed morepeople in the attacks in July last year.

Breivik’s gruesome and defiant statement could mark the end of a legal process that has haunted Norway for 13 months.

Prosecutors said they had not decided whether to appeal the ruling by Oslo’s district court, which declared the right-wing extremist sane enough to be held criminally responsible for attacks “unparalleled in Norwegian history”.

“Since I don’t recognise the authority of the court I cannot legitimise the Oslo district court by accepting the verdict,” said Breivik. “At the same time I cannot appeal the verdict, because by appealing it I would legitimise the court.”

Then, Breivik said he wanted to issue an apology — but it was not for the victims, most of them teenagers gunned down in one of the worst peacetime shooting massacres in modern history.

“I wish to apologise to all militant nationalists that I wasn’t able to execute more,” Breivik said.

The mass killer has been jailed for a maximum term after judges declared him sane enough to answer for the murder of 77 people last year, drawing a smirk of triumph from the self-styled warrior against Islam.

An unrepentant Breivik, aged 33, gave the Oslo court a stiff-armed, clench-fisted salute before being handed the steepest possible penalty: 21 years.

His release, however, can be put off indefinitely should he still pose a threat to a liberal society left traumatised by his bomb and shooting rampage last July.

Justifying blasting a government building and gunning down dozens of teenagers at a summer camp as a service to a nation threatened by immigration, he had said only acquittal or death would be worthy outcomes. However, his biggest concern was being declared insane, a fate he said would be “worse than death”.

Judge Wenche Elizabeth Arntzen dismissed a prosecution call for her to label Breivik mad, a ruling that would have seen him confined indefinitely to psychiatric care rather than prison.

Some survivors of the slaughter at the Labour Party youth camp on Utoya island, and much of the Norwegian public, had been keen to see Breivik held clearly responsible for his actions — and to avoid the insanity verdict that would have prompted him to demand lengthy and traumatic appeals hearings.

For many Norwegians, still shocked by their bloodiest day since the Second World War, the details were academic.

“He is getting what he deserves,” said Alexandra Peltre, 18, whom Breivik shot in the thigh on Utoya.

“This is karma striking back at him. I do not care if he is insane or not, as long as he gets the punishment that he deserves.”

Breivik, who surrendered to police on the island without a fight, admitted blowing up the Oslo government headquarters with a fertiliser bomb, killing eight, on Jul 22, 2011, then shooting 69 at the ruling party’s summer youth camp.

Dressed in a black suit with a tie and still sporting the blond, under-chin beard familiar from the 10 weeks of hearings that ended in June, Breivik smirked when he entered the courtroom and smiled again as the judge read out the verdict.

He will not appeal, his lawyer said. “He will accept this verdict,” Geir Lippestad told Reuters. During the trial Breivik said: “I would do it again” — an attitude which, if maintained, would prevent his being released at the end of his sentence.

A lawyer for some victims and their families said they, too, were satisfied.

“I am pleased, although that’s not really the right word, and relieved. This is what we hoped for,” said Mette Yvonne Larsen, who represented some of those affected in court.

“This is justice served and they are happy it’s over and will never have to see him again.”

The killings shook the nation of 5m which had prided itself as a safe haven from much of the world’s troubles, raising questions about the prevalence of far-right views in a country where oil wealth has attracted rising immigration.

However, the trial, which some had dreaded Breivik might turn into a “circus” of hatred, has been hailed as a model of dispassionate Scandinavian justice that offered closure to the grieving; and Norwegians refused to let fear drive them to curb their easygoing daily lives with cumbersome security measures.

Breivik will be kept in isolation inside Ila Prison on the outskirts of the capital Oslo inside relatively spacious quarters that include a separate exercise room, a computer, and a television.

His diatribes against centre-left governments’ acceptance of Muslim immigration, spread over the internet, and aired on television during the trial, drew support from a militant few in Europe. But even most of the hardest right-wing fringe groups kept their distance from the self-confessed mass killer.

Police found his claims to belong to a shadowy European network he called the Knights Templar, a nod to the medieval Crusader order, were probably the imaginings of an angry loner.


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