Norway Mosque Attacker Gets 21-Year Sentence

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June 11, 2020Updated 7:44 a.m. ET

Philip Manshaus admitted to killing his stepsister and storming a mosque near Oslo last year, saying he was inspired by other far-right attacks.

OSLO — A 22-year-old Norwegian man who said he was inspired by far-right attacks was sentenced on Thursday to 21 years in prison after being convicted of killing his stepsister and opening fire in a mosque near Oslo last August.

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The lawyer for the gunman, Philip Manshaus, had sought to use an insanity defense to argue that her client was not criminally liable, but the court made clear on Thursday that it considered him sane in handing down the sentence, which can be extended if he were to be considered a continued threat to society.

Still, the strategy employed by Mr. Manshaus’s legal team prompted a debate in Norway about the limitations of the insanity defense and whether protections intended to preserve free speech have allowed right-wing extremists to spread hateful ideology on social media platforms.

Mr. Manshaus, 22, admitted killinghis stepsister,Johanne Zhangjia Ihle-Hansen, and attacking the al-Noor Islamic Center in Baerum, an Oslo suburb, while wearing a helmet, camera and body armor. He opened fire in the mosque, but was overpowered by two men inside before anyone was shot.

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