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Breivik ‘won’t appeal a sanity ruling’

The lead defense attorney for confessed terrorist Anders Behring Breivik said on the eve of his client’s sentencing on Friday that Breivik had repeated claims he would not appeal a court ruling that finds him sane and able to be sent to prison. If ruled insane, though, and committed to psychiatric care, Breivik told his lawyers he would appeal on the spot.

In doing so, Breivik would be ignoring the advice of his team of four lawyers, who have urged him to take the time he’s allowed to read through the verdict in his case and the reasons for the ruling from the Oslo City Court (Oslo Tingrett).

Final meeting on Thursday
Defense attorneys Geir Lippestad and Vibeke Hein Bæra met one last time with Breivik on Thursday, just before his verdict was to be handed down by the court’s five-member judicial panel on Friday. It was at that meeting, held at the Ila Prison where Breivik was returned this week to a special high-security set of cells, that Breivik told them he won’t appeal and set off another lengthy legal process, if found sane.

That’s the result most survivors of the attacks and victims’ families seem to favour. “We’re exhausted,” the head of one survivors’ group told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK). “We want this to be over.”

“The most important thing to us is that he understands the advice we’re giving him,” Bæra told NRK after the meeting with Breivik. She and Lippestad told him that he should carefully consider whether to appeal before making any decision.

Instead, they indicated that Breivik hasn’t changed his mind and wants to go to jail for killing 77 persons in his attacks on July 22 last year. Lippestad said that Breivik’s supporters in ultra right-wing, anti-immigration circles have urged him “to take his punishment like a man,” and that he’s heeding their advice, not necessarily that of his attorneys.

‘Taking responsibility’
“He’s saying ‘I take responsibility for my actions,'” Lippestad told reporters on Thursday. Breivik, however, has asked Lippestad to represent him in an appeal of an insanity verdict, and Lippestad said he has agreed to do so.

The Oslo court’s judicial panel, led by Judge Wenche Elizabeth Arntzen, met earlier this week as well to put the finishing touches on their lengthy verdict. They’ve had to determine whether Breivik knew that he had no right to bomb Norway’s government headquarters and later gun down scores of Labour Party summer campers, or whether he suffered from psychosis and delusions when he carried out his attacks. Their dccision will set the terms of  confinement for Breivik, who wants to be taken seriously as a warrior out to save Norwegians from a multi-cultural society.

Arntzen was scheduled to start reading their decision at 10am on Friday.

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund

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