Anders Behring Breivik, the man responsible for Norway’s 22nd July terror attacks, has been ruled insane by psychiatrists, meaning he could escape jail time altogether and be placed in a care facility instead.
A report into his mental state has concluded that he suffers from paranoid schizophrenia and lives in his “own delusional universe where all his thoughts and acts are guided by his delusions”. He killed 77 people in a car bombing and subsequent shooting spree this summer, traumatising the traditionally stable and liberal country.
The findings will now be reviewed by forensic psychiatrists, but the far-right extremist could be placed in psychiatric care rather than jail after his trial on 16th April. Breivik has pleaded not guilty to the charges, despite admitting the killings and claiming them as “necessary” to save Norway and Europe from Muslim rule.
Speaking to the press, Norwegian prosecutor Inga Bejer said, “If the final conclusion is that Breivik is insane, we will request that the court in the upcoming legal proceedings pass sentence by which Breivik is subjected to compulsory mental health care.”
Explaining to the BBC that the only consequence would be that Breivik cannot be jailed, Bejer added, “It will go as a normal trial as if he had been sane. We will ask him questions and the defence will ask him questions and the judge will ask him questions, and he will have his time to talk,” she said.
Geir Lippestad, Breivik’s defence lawyer, said he was not surprised by the findings, although Per Sandberg, the leader of the opposition’s Progress Party, called the ruling “completely incomprehensible”.
“How can someone who has planned this for such a long time… be considered insane,” he said to Norwegian TV.
John Christian Elden, a lawyer for the 32 year-old’s many victims, said before the report went public that the results are irrelevant. “What will happen in the case, no matter what the conclusion, is that he will of course be incarcerated,” he said. “And if the outcome is criminally sane or insane, that is, first and foremost a psychiatric question. The most important thing in our clients’ opinion is that he will not be able to walk the streets.”
Dressed as a police officer, Norwegian national Breivik exploded a car bomb at government offices in Oslo on 22nd July, killing eight. He then went to a youth camp for the ruling Labour Party on Utøya island and shot 69 people, most of whom were teenagers.