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. George Patton

    @Mike:
    Your "delicious irony" at the expense of the victims is reprehensible.

    November 30, 2011 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
  2. jorge80

    Well all racists and bigots and apartheid lovers do suffer from psychotic disorders. But this guy was more premeditated.

    November 30, 2011 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Laurence Ringo

    Well here we are once again.I'm almost past being surprised at the excuses and rationalizations we give murderers,especiallymass murderers.The ivory tower pseudo-academics,so accustomed to living in the world of the mind where the heinous actions of vicious,depraved monsters can be reduced to some sort of mental video game where death and suffering has no reality except what they give it,in this case,none.The pronouncement of the pyschobabblers is itself insane,but not in the minds of those untouched by this horrible,heartbreaking tragedy.And that's almost the most saddest thing of all.

    November 30, 2011 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
  4. EarlGrayHot

    I agree. He clearly thought the attacks out beforehand and despite the fact that neonazi creeps are indeed nutty as a Christmas fruitcake, he should pay for his crimes.

    November 30, 2011 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
  5. JTexas

    @mike & @ George, reprehensible... maybe, but very very true, their own policies are to blame for how this has all unfolded.....

    November 30, 2011 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Craig from Pa.

    Maybe some other lunatic in the asylum will do him in.....karma is strange like that..........

    November 30, 2011 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
  7. What a legal system....

    There is no question that this guy is insane. Everyone has to see that...right? You don't blow up buildings and kill 70 something people if you are sane. At least I wouldn't think so.

    But him being insane doesn't mean he shouldn't be held accountable for what he did.

    I will say that I do agree with those that said he shouldn't serve any jail time. This man should never see an inside of a prison.

    HE should be shot between the eyes on his way to the court room.

    November 30, 2011 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • JUGGERNAUT

      so Al'qaeda is insane???

      November 30, 2011 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
  8. The Dude

    Is anyone really suprised by this? I mean what did you expect from a country that is run by elite liberals and socialist.

    November 30, 2011 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kirstyloo

      Norway has a higher standard of living, better health, and more effective education than the US. Evidently, their system works for the most part.

      November 30, 2011 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • driranek

      Many states in the U.S. have very similar laws that would produce pretty much the same result. If you don't like it, and I don't, work to change your laws from "not guilty by reason of insanity" to "guilty but insane". That way once they're "cured" by the mental hospital they get to spend the rest of their sentence in a prison.

      November 30, 2011 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Atilla Denizhan

      Very true and sad, it is the belief that they are somehow so far evolved in their theories and practical application of what they consider civilized and humane practices in responding to criminal behavior. They view the rest of the world as being wrong and archaic in when being tough on crime. Sad.

      December 1, 2011 at 3:24 am | Report abuse |
  9. Expected

    That’t is not possible. If he goes to the hospital he will never get to prision for this crime. This is how Norwegian law works.

    The former leader of the hospital says he will probably be out in 5 to 7 years.
    In Norwegian prisons, it is even possible to receive private visits to private spaces with own bed (for private times with for example girlfriend..) In a hospital, there are even more benefits. They also get pocket money – $ 70 per week.

    November 30, 2011 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
  10. B

    Isn't insanity pretty much taken as implicit for any individual who kills 77 human beings? Like, how can someone kill 77 people without being crazy? I get it. But this decision pretty much leaves the door open for anyone to go on a rampage out of some self-righteous idea of cleaning society. Like DeNiro in Taxi Driver. A rain will come...

    November 30, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  11. John Gets

    I wonder how the shrinks would have passed verdict if he was a moozlim?

    November 30, 2011 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
  12. witerok

    Insane or not insane, it should not matter... the only issue that should remain at hand is the method of execution... what is this world coming to? Are all of the people in charge complete nitwits? I'm afraid so... God help us all!

    November 30, 2011 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kirstyloo

      Most of Europe doesn't believe in capital punishment...and they have less violent crime than the US. Interesting eh?

      November 30, 2011 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
  13. who pooted

    Of course this guy is insane. All the more reason to execute his sorry a**, or at least lock him up for the rest of his life. Here in the U.S.,this monster would be dealt with.

    November 30, 2011 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Bob

    Insane? I thought he was just a member of the Tea Party?

    November 30, 2011 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
  15. George Patton

    @Bob: wasn't aware that Norway *had* the Tea Party.

    November 30, 2011 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
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