Anders Behring Breivik, who killed 77 people and injured 151 in a shooting and bombing rampage in Norway seven months ago, has been formally charged with committing acts of terror.
Defense lawyers visited Breivik in jail outside the capital, Oslo, on Wednesday to present their client with the charges against him. He is expected to go on trial April 16.
According to the BBC, Breivik has been charged under a provision in Norway’s anti-terror legislation referring to violent acts intended to disrupt key government functions or spread fear among the population.
Speaking to reporters in Oslo, prosecutor Svein Holden said: “The defendant has committed highly serious crimes of a dimension we have no previous experience with in our society in modern times.”
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Breivik has confessed to the July 22 attacks but denies criminal guilt, accusing the victims of being “traitors” for embracing immigration laws he says will allow the Islamic colonization of Norway, the Associated Press reports.
Eight people died when Breivik set off a bomb in downtown Oslo, while a further 69 were killed when the 33-year-old went on a one-hour shooting spree on the island of Utoeya, where a youth camp of Norway’s governing Labor Party had been set up.
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According to Reuters, prosecutors have said they are prepared to accept Breivik was criminally insane and may push for a sentence of psychiatric care instead of a jail sentence.
However, if new elements regarding Breivik’s mental health emerge before the end of the trial they may demand 21 years in prison, and his imprisonment can be extended for as long as he is considered a danger to society.
Breivik is currently undergoing a second psychiatric assessment, after an initial study that concluded he was a paranoid schizophrenic was challenged by some of his victims’ families.
The second assessment is set to be published on April 10, less than a week before his trial begins, The Daily Telegraph reports.
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