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. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    Paranoid schizophrenia is too complex for the victims' families to understand.
    They don't know as much as psychiatrists.

    November 30, 2011 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • asdf

      Were's that Euro smugness reminding the US how much more civilized their justice system is?

      November 30, 2011 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • GPC


      Their justice system is more civilized than ours. We have a broken justice system but we still put potentially innocent people to death. Europeans have every right to be smug. Sure, it would be a mistake not to put this guy in prison. But it was also a mistake not to put Casey Anthony in prison. Don't be so smug yourself.

      November 30, 2011 at 6:16 pm | Report abuse |
  2. JTexas

    of course he is crazy, he killed 70+ people. That is not the behaviour of a sane person. Hitler was crazy! its not a get out of jail free card...


    November 30, 2011 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
  3. saywhat

    A premeditated, demonically purposeful act of terrorism goes unpunished. Why?
    Is this meant to send a message to those who who believe in this terrorist's agenda ? And his contacts in other countries ??

    November 30, 2011 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
  4. JTexas

    I wonder if he were muslim and brown skinned if he would be declared "insane"

    November 30, 2011 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
  5. JT

    I don't care what excuse they come up with; it will never excuse what he did. He's the justification for capital punishment.

    November 30, 2011 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Taras

    the moral of the story is, if you're gonna kill someone, make sure you kill enough to never see a prison cell.

    November 30, 2011 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Yalanii

    He is removed from society. What difference does it make where he is is also isn't like Norweigans have scary prisons.

    November 30, 2011 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Phoex

      I think the reason why people are upset is that when he is declared insane, he will be placed in a mental hospital with much, much lower security (people have escaped in the past), and he will be up for a new evaluation every three years or so, and if the panel thinks he's properly rehabilitated, he will be let out into the society again. technically that could happen in just a few years, but I doubt it will. not soon anyway. plus it's much "nicer" in a mental hospital than in prison. sure norwegian inmates have access to TV and other stuff, so it's not as hard core as the US etc, but in the hospitals they have access to much more. like video games, activities like playing table tennis, soccer etc.and if he were placed in prison it is very likely that he would be there for life, as apposed to the mental hospital. I'm from norway by the way:)

      November 30, 2011 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
  8. John Lupus

    He is a true HERO!

    November 30, 2011 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • AT345

      No he isn't, he's a theocrat sent by God to kill even you, for not devoting your entire life only to him and instead to your family, end the theocratic age of God, and end this pointless crusade.

      November 30, 2011 at 6:03 pm | Report abuse |
  9. rick

    i dont know what the facilities for the criminally insane are like in norway, but i practiced l law in Michigan, USA for 40 years and had on one occasion an inmate of such a facility beg to be transferred to a prison harboring the worst felons one could imagine, killers, etc. being locked up with the criminally insane is probably not a picnic, unless you enjoy being the entree

    November 30, 2011 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
  10. JTexas

    @Yalanii, so if your kids or relatives were in the blast, you wouldn't care what was done with him? I would think you would have a slightly stronger opinion at that point.
    He will never be completly removed from society.

    November 30, 2011 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
  11. cain

    maybe it was a set up from the get go. Maybe he was put up to it by somebody else. But who would belive it if he was now he is labeled as crazy. Once you are labeled as crazy, youare no longer responsible or credible.

    November 30, 2011 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
  12. us1776

    Just b/c someone has some level of paranoia and schizophrenia does not mean that they do not know right from wrong. He knew he was breaking the law. He chose to break it anyhow.

    Only a person who has no concept of the law should be allowed to be declared insane enough to avoid prison.


    November 30, 2011 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Portland tony

    This a great Norwegian tragedy. Let's let them work it out.

    November 30, 2011 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
  14. JTexas

    agreed portland!!!!

    November 30, 2011 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
  15. george lewis

    The Vikings used to have a hideous way to put a murderer to death. They would tie the person down face forward then cut into their back then pull their lungs out between their ribs to look like bloody wings. Hanging drawing and quartering sounds good also. The victims families can witness this and learn what a travesty capital punishment is!!

    November 30, 2011 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • us1776

      They're not asking for capital punishment.

      They're asking for life in prison.

      November 30, 2011 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
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