Utøya’s future caught in conflict

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Conflicts continue in the aftermath of last year’s July 22 terrorist attacks, most recently over the future of the island where convicted terrorist Anders Behring Breivik carried out his massacre, and over the compensation and aid given to victims and their families. Meanwhile, police say it’s a full-time job to monitor all the mail Breivik sends and receives while in prison.

There are many opinions over what should become of the island of Utøya.  PHOTO: Wikipedia Commons

More than 700 survivors and victims’ families have signed a letter opposing a move by another 200 survivors of the massacre to preserve the island of Utøya as it now stands. The 200 oppose redevelopment plans but now the national agency in charge of historic preservation (Riksantikvaren) has decided it won’t petition to preserve Utøya’s buildings. None has enough historic cultural value, according to the agency.

The Labour Party government, which was the target of the attacks, has at the same time been accused of favouritism. Victims and their families have received help and compensation unlike any other victims of violence, and “that can be seen as Labour favouring their own,” said Ada Sofie Austegard, the mother of a murdered young girl who has become Norway’s foremost victims’ advocate. She told news bureau NTB last week that she at first was glad the assistance and compensation for July 22 victims was so high, “because I thought that finally, they were doing something for victims’ rights. But when I realized that this was only for this group, I became sad. I view this as favouritism.”

Staff at the prison where Breivik is being held, meanwhile, have their hands full monitoring all the mail Breivik gets and sends. TV2 reported that Breivik has widespread contact with extremist groups overseas, and the translation requirements alone are considerable, in addition to the volume of mail that must be examined. Not all letters to or from Breivik are approved.

newsinenglish.no staff