Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Oslo Aftermath- Shooter May Only Get 21 Year Sentence; Death Toll Revised Down to 76, Former PM Was Gunman's Main Target?

As many of the victims in Anders Breivik's murder spree were being laid to rest it came to light that under Norway's penal code, Breivik could conceivably serve just 21 years imprisonment for his bombing of government offices in Oslo and gunning down scores of children and adolescents at a summer camp on Utøya Island.

Under Norway's judicial system an inmate incarcerated for an indeterminate timeframe must demonstrate that they are no longer a danger to society at large. Given the scope and severity of Breivik's actions, it would be assumed that he would always pose a risk to the public. An additional five years of 'containment' would be tacked on to the end of a sentence if the inmate was found unfit to be released or paroled.

Norweigan Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg signaled in the immediate aftermath of the massacre that the country's penal system would be re-examined in light of the natures of the crimes Breivik has confessed to.

In the days following the shooting, officials in Norway revised the death toll down to 76- with 68 killed on Utøya Island and eight killed in the downtown Oslo bombing. In the immediate aftermath, the ranged from 10 to as many as 96 killed. Even with the revised death toll, the July 22nd attacks remain the deadliest in Norway since World War II.

Breivik had reportedly been in contact via e-mail and internet bulletin boards with far right groups in Norway, the UK and Belgium prior to the massacre, although he never relayed any plans for violence in his correspondence. Shortly before the massacre, he e-mailed a lengthy 1500 page 'manifesto'- some of which was plagiarized from the Unabomber- to contacts in England and elsewhere in Europe.

Meanwhile, according to a press release from the execrable Westboro Baptist Church, the 'Reverend' Fred Phelps and his congregation announced that they intend to picket the funerals of those slain in the July 22nd massacre.

While there are technically no laws on the books in the USA to prevent the Westboro congregation from picketing the funerals of soldiers killed in Iraq or Afghanistan, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed emergency legislation blocking them from protesting any of the victims slain by deranged gunman Jared Lee Loughner in the January 2011 Tuscon Massacre.

However, Norway has laws on the books against 'hate speech' meaning that the antics the Westboro congregation pulls here in the USA at soldier's funerals with impunity would earn them an arrest, fines and possible jail time in Norway [Note- I'm not endorsing such laws for here in the USA- NANESB!]
Norway's General Civil Penal Code, comments in Section 135 a. on "hateful expression" related to religion and sexuality: "Section 135 a. Any person who willfully or through gross negligence publicly utters a discriminatory or hateful expression shall be liable to fines or imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years. ... The use of symbols shall also be deemed to be an expression. Any person who aids and abets such an offense shall be liable to the same penalty."

The law further clarifies what hateful expression encompasses, “inciting hatred or persecution of or contempt for anyone because of his or her: a) skin color or national or ethnic origin, b) religion or life stance, or c) homosexuality, lifestyle or orientation."

Considering the clear wordings of the law the members of the church may not be able to get away with their picketing in Norway as they do in the U.S.

“If they implement what they threaten, I can only confirm that it is one of the most bad ideas at the moment,” said Johan Fredriksen , chief of staff of the Oslo police to the Norway Broadcasting Company (NRK).
[On a totally random side-note, is it just me or does the Westboro Baptist Church seem more like a charicture of how progressives or athiests like Bill Maher view Christianity than an actual church?- NANESB!]

After his arrest, Breivik told police that one of Norway's former prime ministers, Gro Harlem Brundtland, was his main target. Brundtland had delivered a speech to the ruling Labor Party's youth camp on Utøya island earlier that day. Breivik also said that he had accomplices or allied 'cells' that were ready to strike unspecified targets, but examination of his computer files and e-mail correspondence seems to indicate that he had worked alone in procuring weapons and planning the attacks.

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