Norway police chief resigns over Breivik attack

August 17th, 2012 - 11:08 am ICT by IANS  

Moscow, Aug 17 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Norway’s head of police Oeystein Maeland has resigned following a recent independent inquiry which established that mass killer Anders Behring Breivik could have been stopped, BBC reported.

Maeland was appointed as police chief shortly before the 33-year-old anti-Muslim extremist murdered 77 people in a bombing in Oslo and a shooting spree on a youth summer camp on Utoeya Island last July.

The report by an independent commission, which was released Monday, said police could have prevented the bombing as Brevik’s name was passed to the Police Security Service (PST) by Norwegian Customs after he purchased a small amount of an explosive primer from the online store in Poland months before the attack.

The report also said police had enough time and information to intercept Breivik on his way to the youth camp, but “failed to respond swiftly and decisively.”

Maeland said in a statement Thursday that he could not continue to perform his duties while facing the lack of confidence from the government.

During his recent 10-week trial, Breivik confessed to murdering innocent people, but pleaded “not guilty” to terror charges, saying he was defending Norway from the “Muslim invasion.”

He is expected to be sentenced Aug 24.

If deemed mentally ill, Breivik may spend the rest of his life in a psychiatric ward. If the court finds him sane, the killer will serve up to 21 years in prison with possible indefinite extensions.

Brevik said he wants to be ruled sane and his attack considered a political statement rather than an act of a madman.

–IANS/RIA Novosti

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