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Confessed gunman indicted in Norway massacre

Published: March 8, 2012 | 10:11 am
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OSLO – Anders Behring Breivik was indicted Wednesday on terror and murder charges in last summer’s bomb and shooting rampage that left 77 people dead, but prosecutors said the confessed killer probably will not go to prison for Norway’s worst peacetime massacre.

Prosecutors said they consider the right-wing extremist psychotic and will seek a sentence of involuntary commitment to psychiatric care instead of imprisonment, unless new information about his mental health emerges during the trial, which is scheduled to start in April.

In either case, Breivik, 33, could spend the rest of his life in captivity, prosecutor Inga Bejer Engh said.

“Regardless of the sentence, we have promised that we will do whatever we can to keep him away from society as long as the system allows us,’’ she said.

The terror charges carry a maximum penalty of 21 years in prison, but sentences can be prolonged indefinitely for inmates deemed to pose a danger to society. Similar rules apply in psychiatric care.

As expected, prosecutors charged Breivik under a paragraph in Norway’s antiterror law that refers to violent acts intended to disrupt key government functions or spread fear in the population.

Breivik has confessed to the July 22 attacks but denies criminal guilt, portraying the victims as “traitors’’ for embracing immigration policies he claims will result in an Islamic colonization of Norway.

The indictment listed the names of the eight people killed when a bomb exploded in downtown Oslo and the 69 victims of a shooting spree on Utoya island outside the capital, where the youth wing of the governing Labor Party was holding its annual summer camp.

Prosecutors prepared the indictment under the assumption that Breivik is legally insane and therefore unfit for prison, but said that assessment could change during the trial.

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