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. umut baba

    suffering from paranoid schizophrenia, what would the result of the case be if it happened in the usa, death penalty?

    November 30, 2011 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jay

      What's your point? Are you suggesting mass murderers deserve to live their lives?

      November 30, 2011 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fred

      So now you're saying the killer is really just a poor victim? Yes, maybe he should just be let go and given some meds.

      November 30, 2011 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tim

      US is much more severe than Norway. He would spend time at Patton but eventually be transferred to state prison.

      November 30, 2011 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
  2. mogu

    I say forcefully convert this guy to islam, and then give him the death penalty.

    November 30, 2011 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • lolyoumakemelaugh

      this is what is so funny... the christian is upset that his own is killing people, wants to play blame game.

      November 30, 2011 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Kolya75

    Insane is a legal term for not being able to tell right from wrong. It is not the same as being "crazy". One can have mental illness, any diagnosis, but establishing insanity is a specific legal process

    November 30, 2011 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Rekha Vinjamuri

    It is strictly the business of the Norwegian people.

    November 30, 2011 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
  5. JTexas

    @Rekha, haven't we learned our mistakes by saying "it's simpy their business"? Our world is too small now to consider anything strickly some one else's business. What if they let him go free? and then the government supported rampant murder and genocide... is it still stricktly their business? Crazy senario I know, like that would ever happen in Europe or anywhere else for that matter. ............

    November 30, 2011 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Tony

    Probably not – but certainly in Turkey he would be put to death.

    November 30, 2011 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Keith

    I too would be furious. I say let the guy go to prison and see a shrink once a week. Some time with the other inmates might do him some good. One reason this guy is insane is because he hid from the world and fed his mind crap and started to believe it.
    I'm not a proponent of the death penalty but considering what he is guilty of...

    November 30, 2011 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
  8. John Smyth

    He should be living with every psychologist who kept him out of jail.

    Their "findings" don't mean he is not a threat to society.

    November 30, 2011 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Dan in Colorado

    Chances are he can be confined in a mental instution for the rest of his life. Under Norweigian law, he couldn't spend the rest of his life in prison.

    November 30, 2011 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Realist

    It is rather interesting how non-muslim mass murderers and religious/ideological fanatics are always thoroughly examined for a potential insanity plea, because, let's face it, anyone willing to commit these types of crimes is probably INSANE on some level. Muslim fanatics' state of mind, and potential insanity, rarely, if ever, seems to be examined/considered after large scale criminal acts involving multiple victims – they are always cold and calculating murderers who kill for the glory of Islam with ingenious premeditation and strategy.

    I remember watching the news broadcast when that white guy in Austin rammed his Cessna into a federal building. As soon as they found out the culprit was a White American Christian, the inquiry turned on his mental health (some, at his funeral, even justified the actions due to IRS' oppressive behavior towards him!)

    This double-standard is living proof that we are an Islamophobic country...where an act of a deranged individual is always pinned on a religious/ethnic collective. It is the same tactic ADOLF HITLER used when a Jewish boy was accused of burning the REICHSTAG!

    November 30, 2011 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
  11. ChrkeePrde

    This shows Norway's little experience with crime. Good for them... pity that criminals benefit so much from it.

    November 30, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Mike

    I deplore this fellow and hope he somehow stays locked up for the remainder of his life. Nevertheless, there is a sort of delicious irony in the fact that this guy killed a bunch of children of the leftie elite, and he is now benefiting from policies that without question come from the left, in this case the notion that somehow someone who is mentally ill (Important: as opposed to someone who is so seriously mentally ill that he/she does not know the difference between right and wrong) does not deserve to be punished for crimes. Well lefties, here are your policies in action.

    November 30, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
  13. George Patton

    Not understanding paranoid schizophrenia is immaterial, JIF; their family members are just as dead.

    He took months to plan this out.

    If that isn't premeditation, I don't know what is.

    November 30, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
  14. swschrad

    this is really simple. if the punk shows his face, anybody who pings him can claim insanity, hit a revolving-door clinic, and be home in time for christmas. and that pair of issues would trigger revision of the laws.

    November 30, 2011 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Barry G.

    Let him stay in a prision for the criminally insane; and, once he recovers, move him to a real prison for the remainder of his life sentence.

    November 30, 2011 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
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