Breivik charged with 'acts of terror'

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12:12 CET+01:00
Anders Behring Breivik, who killed 77 people in twin attacks in Norway last July, was on Wednesday charged with committing acts of terror and voluntary homicide, according to an indictment by prosecutors.

The charges carry a penalty of up to 21 years in prison, although the term can be extended for as long as he is considered a danger to society. If he is found criminally insane, he would be confined to a psychiatric ward instead.

Police read the 19 pages of charges to Behring Breivik on Wednesday morning at the high security Ila prison outside Oslo where he is being held pending the beginning of his trial on April 16th.

Afterwards, police officer Tore Jo Nilsen told reporters gathered outside the prison that the confessed killer had been "completely calm" during the 30 minutes it took to read the charges.

On July 22nd, the man who has claimed to be on a crusade against multi-culturalism and the "Muslim invasion" of Europe set off a car bomb outside government buildings in Oslo, killing eight people.

He then went to Utøya island north-west of Oslo, and, dressed as a police officer, spent more than an hour methodically shooting and killing another 69 people, mainly teenagers, attending a summer camp hosted by the ruling Labour Party's youth wing.

The prosecution said last week it was prepared to accept that Behring Breivik was criminally insane and therefore not responsible for his acts, and as such may not call for a prison sentence.

But it reserved the right to alter that view if new elements emerged about his mental health by the end of the trial.

The 33-year-old right-wing extremist is currently undergoing a second court-ordered psychiatric evaluation, after the initial one late last year found him criminally insane.

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The diagnosis, which if supported by the court would rule out prison, sparked a wave of criticism, with many pointing to the years he spent planning the massacre and his calm demeanor as he executed his attacks.

But regardless of the findings of the second expert assessment of his criminal accountability, he will go on trial starting April 16th and it will in the end be up to the judge to determine whether he can be sentenced to prison.

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