“Norwegian prisons are a party. This will be more punishment”
In Norway’s worst attacks since World War Two, Breivik killed 77 people in July by bombing central Oslo and then gunning down dozens of mostly teenagers at a summer camp of the ruling Labor Party’s youth wing.
Prosecutors said a psychiatric report on Breivik, a self-declared anti-immigration militant, showed he believed he had staged “the executions” out of love for “his people.”
“The conclusion … is that he is insane,” prosecutor Svein Holden told a news conference on the psychiatrists’ report. “He lives in his own delusional universe and his thoughts and acts are governed by this universe.”
Norway has a tradition of stressing rehabilitation of criminals rather than punishment but one politician called the report incomprehensible while a British-based forensic psychiatrist expressed surprise at its conclusions.
The Nordic nation of 4.9 million does not have the death penalty and the maximum criminal jail sentence is 21 years.
If the court accepts the report’s conclusions, Breivik would be held in a mental health institution rather than in a prison. Norwegian courts can challenge psychiatric evaluations or order new tests but rarely reject them.
Breivik could be held as long as he poses a threat to society but may be released if found to be healthy.
One survivor of the shooting rampage on Utoeya island said the Norwegian public had to be protected from Breivik.
“The most important thing for me is not to punish Breivik,” 20-year-old Bjoern Ihler told Reuters. “What matters to me is that he no longer poses a threat to society.”
Others disagreed. “This is completely incomprehensible,” said Per Sandberg, the deputy leader of the populist Progress Party, an opposition group which campaigns for tougher criminal sentences. “How can someone who has planned this for such a long time … be considered insane?” he told TV2.
Sandberg, who heads parliament’s justice committee, called for a wider evaluation of Breivik’s mental status.
Breivik had developed paranoid schizophrenia and was psychotic at the time of the attacks, Holden said, adding that his condition was persisting.
In their report the psychiatrists described many different forms of “bizarre delusions.”
“They especially describe what they call Breivik’s delusions where he sees himself as chosen to decide who shall live and who shall die, and that he is chosen to save what he calls his people,” said Holden.
“Breivik has stated that he committed the murders, or executions as he calls them, because of his love for his people,” he added.
In a manifesto posted on the internet shortly before his killing spree on July 22, Breivik declared he wanted to protect Norway from what he said was the threat of Muslim immigration.
Seena Fazel, a lecturer in forensic psychiatry at Britain’s Oxford University, said he was surprised by the diagnosis.
“From the initial reports that came out about him, he came across as someone who planned this extremely carefully over a long period of time and was terribly well organized,” Fazel told Reuters. “Usually, with people with severe mental illness, their lives are slightly more chaotic than that.”
“So I must admit I am a bit surprised by this diagnosis, but at the same time, we know that people with severe mental illness are at increased risk of committed violent crimes – although that’s often in the context of drug and alcohol problems, which he doesn’t appear to have.”
MAY BE FREED IF HEALTHY
Breivik could legally be freed if declared healthy. “If he is not psychotic and does not pose a danger to society, then his sentence cannot be upheld,” prosecutor Inga Bejer Engh told the news conference.
If the court accepts the psychiatric evaluation, Breivik would still be put on trial but could not be jailed.
He could face court hearings every three years to determine if he needs to remain committed to a psychiatric institution, and could be held for life if he remained a threat.
During his 13 conversations with two mental health experts, which lasted about 36 hours, Breivik called himself the “most perfect knight” to live after World War Two.
Breivik also claimed that his organization, which he calls the Knights Templar after the medieval religious order, will take over power in Europe and put himself forward as the future regent of Norway and the continent.
“The experts also describe Breivik’s intentions to conduct breeding projects with Norwegians and organize them in reserves,” said Holden.
Breivik, who is being held in isolation in prison, was as yet unaware of the conclusion of his psychiatric evaluation but would be told later Tuesday.
He has said via his lawyer that he does not consider himself insane, although his lawyer believes he is.
“I don’t think he (Breivik) will be surprised by the conclusions of the report,” his lawyer, Geir Lippestad, told TV2.
(Additional reporting by Balazs Koranyi; in Oslo and Kate Kelland in London; Editing by David Stamp)
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OSLO – Confessed mass killer Anders Behring Breivik was insane when he killed 77 … Full Story »Psychiatric evaluation finds Norwegian killer was insane during massacre
gizmosellschickens 2 minutes ago
Norway, hope you change your criminal code to make the definition of insanity knowing right from wrong. He killed 77 people think Western Society should bring back the firing squad and hanging because prison will not do lick of difference on mass murderer like this. … More
Mark 3 minutes ago
If he is sane enough to load a gun and kill over 70 people…. He is sane enough to be put to death for killing productive members of their society. I’m from Tx, my state has let people off of the death penalty for being “insane.” Eye for an eye. If you have been caught on numerous cameras and… More
Andy 7 minutes ago
Eh, not how I would roll, but every country had its right to handle things its own way. At least if he’s institutionalized, he’ll be kept as long as he needs to be. The only issue is that he’s shown to be calm and collected. He did a lot of planning for his little rampage and had big goals for it…. More
Everyone Say Cheese! 9 minutes ago
America has our own version of this guy, and his name is Jared Laughner. Remember him? The CIA has him tucked safely away (in Springfield, MO) so he’s not able to testify in open court. Otherwise, it might be discovered that Gabby Giffords wasn’t his target. It was actually Judge John Roll.
Douglas 11 minutes ago
As horrible as what he did is, if he was and is truly psychotic and therefore unhinged from contact with reality, through no fault of his own (Schizophrenia is mainly genetically determined and not under volitional control), then he cannot be held morally responsible for his acts.
Caruzer77 11 minutes ago
The court appointed shrinks have been paid off by this man, or his friends to say he is CRIMINALLY INSANE. Everything he did was with malice. His actions were thought out before hand, and done with cool calculation. Blowing a bomb up in town to distract people. Dressing as a police officer to gain… More
New World Disorder 11 minutes ago
So lets understand this picture. An avowed zionist activist with connections to zionists within Norways political leadership bombs the Prime Ministers offices after Norway declares that they will be the first European nation to officially recognize an independent Palestine. Then the same bomber… More
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