Norwegians angry terror suspect deemed insane, want him to face prison time
Anders Breivik's trial is set to take place in April for the rampage that killed 77 people.
November 30th, 2011
12:58 PM ET

Norwegians angry terror suspect deemed insane, want him to face prison time

A panel of psychiatrists this week found Norwegian Anders Breivik, the man accused of killing 77 people in a terrorist rampage, to be insane and suffering from "paranoid schizophrenia."

Breivik took months to plan the July attacks in Oslo and at a youth camp on nearby Utoya Island. He orchestrated complicated financial transactions to obtain chemicals used to make bombs detonated at Oslo governmental buildings. He went through great lengths to ensure family, friends, police and even his landlord did not discover his plot.

Breivik spent hours each day working on a political manifesto that, while rambling and self-involved, still presented a cohesive set of principles. He described himself as trying to start a war that would ultimately rid Europe of Islamists and other groups to which he objected.

Despite the planning, his political manifesto and Breivik's own stated rationality, psychiatrists determined he was insane. While that finding could be overturned, it places Breivik on a legal path where it's possible he may never serve jail time.

He has pleaded not guilty but admits carrying out the attacks, the judge handling his case has said. At his trial in April, Breivik will have the opportunity to present evidence, police said.

Many Norwegians are questioning the psychiatrists' conclusion and say they are angry that Breivik may not spend time in a prison.

Listen to a CNN Radio report on the matter here:

"The ruling makes no sense,"  said Kristian Andeneas, head of the University of Oslo's Department of Criminology and Sociology of Law. "This is astonishing. I thought they would come to a different result."

Former politician and Norwegian writer Aslak Sira Myhre more bluntly told Britain's The Guardian, "As the terrorist of Oslo is declared insane, the Norwegian faith in our judicial system is challenged."

But the biggest outcry has come from the families of victims and the survivors of Breivik's attacks. If the insanity finding is allowed to stand, he would receive a hearing every three years. Norwegian law mandates these hearings, meaning many victims would be forced to relive the horrific events of July 22.

"That's not good for victims," Andeneas says. "And it's not very good for Norway as we try to move beyond these crimes."

You can also listen to the CNN Radio Reports podcast on itunes or subscribe to the podcast here.

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Filed under: Crime • Norway
soundoff (225 Responses)
  1. berucem

    I find it hard to believe that this illness (paranoid schizophrenia.") went undiagnosed for 32yrs, paranoid schizophrenia does not occur over night. if someone has this illness the symptoms manifest itself in early childhood and would be very noticeable. i think this man is evil

    December 1, 2011 at 8:42 am | Report abuse |
    • Nomofish

      Ummm...false. Paranoid Schizophrenia typically develops later in life (early adulthood) and many paranoids can present as fairly normal in many situations avoiding attention (ie they can hold a conversation and maintain relationships while also having major delusions). -Clinical psychology doctoral student

      December 1, 2011 at 9:10 am | Report abuse |
  2. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    Chrisseh, 6:35 AM, makes a lot of sense to me and assumes an appropriately intimidating posture.
    The USA is not in a position to preach to Europe, and certainly not to Norway.
    Maybe we need to learn something.

    December 1, 2011 at 8:48 am | Report abuse |
  3. Randy

    well duh...of course he is insane. Now he should be put to death like a rabid animal, not to punish the animal but to protect society.

    December 1, 2011 at 9:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Typinator

      Well said! Guilty first, insane second. Pointless to spend time and money on an animal this dangerous. Psych docs would be insane themselves to release this person into society at any future date. There's no question about his guilt.

      December 1, 2011 at 11:57 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Derek

    I don't think Breivik was legally insane. He knew he had a rifle & was shooting people, including children. It wasn't a situation where he thought he had an umbrella & was fighting monsters. He may be a kook & mentally unstable but he knew what he was doing. I think he should stand trial for his crimes.

    December 1, 2011 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
    • AG

      Agree. A lot of Norwegians as my self does not understand this. I am a lawyer (not criminal though) and I really doesnt understand this. He knew he was killing people and that it i illegal. Whether he had some insane motivation to justify this shouldnt really count.
      PS to the moderator. I accidently pressed the report button on this comment.

      December 1, 2011 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Stein

      Different legal systems, different definitions of insanity. But having him declared mentally unhinged during the attack doesn't really make all that much practical difference under Norwegian law.

      It means that you, if convicted (which is pretty a much a given in this case, as there is no doubt about who did it), you will be sentenced to involuntary psychiatric treatment.

      Despite the nonsense posted by ignorant people, claiming that the man will quickly be released from psychiatric care as "cured", it is not at all a given that he will be released, even if "cured".

      According to the law on psychiatric health care (law 1999-07-02-62), chapter 5, section 6, a person who no longer is considered so mentally ill that he requires psychiatric care, but where there still is a perceived danger of repeat offenses, can (after a legal hearing) be transferred from psychiatric care to a regular prison.

      Breivik is not going to be released anytime soon. We do in _general_ believe far more in rehabilitation than in vengeance, but we are not quite as naive as some Americans (and some Norwegians) assume – We do actually have ways to lock up dangerous people permanently if/when it proves necessary.

      In this very unique case it will be necessary to keep the man locked up for life. So be it.

      December 1, 2011 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Commonsense

    God forgive me, but I don't care if he is insane or not.
    There tons of people who share his principals in part and in whole. He is an example of haters in action.
    He should be executed.

    December 1, 2011 at 10:15 am | Report abuse |
    • bh

      Keep him locked up in solitary for life, execution is too easy and gives him an out.
      Make him suffer, let the victims families see him suffer until he dies alone and scared.

      December 1, 2011 at 10:49 pm | Report abuse |
  6. bezerkur

    immigrants from 3rd world countries are infesting to scandinavian countries and america bringing their backward customs and beliefs that pollute everything. its ok for their sons to mingle with our daughters but their women are off limits and are austrocized if they do or killed. they take jobs away from locals and they invite the real terrorist to blend in with them. Christains already destroyed a once powerful and unique culture of proud scandinavians centuries ago now its going for the jugular. its a pity his delusion of being a Templar is misplaced. It should be done for Odin for Odin is the true God of scandinavians. Uff Da!!

    December 1, 2011 at 10:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Moms-care

      Well, aren't you two tolerant little home-bodies???????? You and Breivik belong to the same club – racist bigots.

      December 1, 2011 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
  7. awakened

    3rd world immigrants are a scorge on western society. this will happen again and again and again and again....

    December 1, 2011 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gharsanay

      you think Andre is from 3rd world?

      December 1, 2011 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
  8. PTownX

    Well he wants to be a Saint, very easy nail this fool on the cross......

    December 1, 2011 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Obama

    Keep up the good work Anders. Cultural Marxists go to hell!

    December 1, 2011 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Moms-care

    My dad was a truly great man. He once said to me"Never make the mistake of confusing insanity with evil." The longer I live, the more I realise how right he was.

    If this man was a paranoid-schizophrenic but NOT having treatment to control it – he would have shown big signs beforehand. Then his medics could have testified that he was insane. Obviously he did not.

    Having dearly loved and almost married a schizophrenic I can tell you that ONLY drugs could give him any semblance of 'normality' Sadly he died of a brain haemorrage.

    December 1, 2011 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
  11. m

    Yep, crazy as a fox. Send him to prison. He has the smarts to survive.

    December 1, 2011 at 11:17 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Dak

    ok everyone here is talking about executing him and what not or letting him rot in prison. either way he is out of our lives and i totally agree with Derek Insane or not he knew he had a gun and killed alot of people people he would need to reload at some point so he must of known what he was doing. he needs to stand trial and get whats coming to him.

    December 9, 2011 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
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