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. Pete

    This is a situation where the death penalty should be put to use, too bad Norway doesn't have one. I feel the people of Norway would most likely be ok with an exception to the rule in this instance.

    November 30, 2011 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe Rioux

      That is where you'd be wrong. Norwegians are, by and large, very against the death penalty. They're humanists and whatnot.

      While that's to be admired, I do agree that this nutcase should be killed, and quickly.

      November 30, 2011 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Daniel

      You operate under the assumption that death is a punishment. Yet we all have to die. Death is a mere inevitability. Once you realize that, you see that torture is the only real punishment. Daily, painful torture. Or, for the squeamish–daily hard labor with no days off, until he dies. Like what the Nazis used to do.

      November 30, 2011 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Paul Ronco

      >> Like what the Nazis used to do.

      Are you suggesting that we become like Nazis, Daniel? Because that's basically what this guy was... a violent far-right nationalist.

      November 30, 2011 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Easy E

    Psychologyand psychiatry have always been at the fringe between science and pseudoscience. What is worse is that most of those involved as researchers and "authorities" within this field tend to be themselves mentally and spiritually unhealthy. This is why we have these professionals" acting as apologists for the worst sociopaths imaginable, condoning and excusing their actions ad infinitum.
    A man who commits murder should be either imprisoned or executed. That such a person is insane is frankly irrelevent, they still must be held to account. Having a mental illness can make you paranoid, but it cannot make you evil. Paranoia makes one strike out defensively, for evil offensively. Chasing down and killing 70+ unarmed people has nothing to do with paranoia and everything to do with being an evil bigot; only a psychologist would be too stupid to make the distinction.

    November 30, 2011 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe Rioux

      Agree, with modification: it doesn't matter if they're insane because we have to be practical. Someone who poses such a menace to society should probably be executed. I don't care if he's crazy, or got molested, or ate the wrong corn flakes this morning. Some dogs have to be put down.

      November 30, 2011 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sean

      I’m sorry, I just can’t take someone seriously who says something like: spiritually unhealthy. And right after accusing two groups of being fringe science. lol

      November 30, 2011 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Tex71

    This creep not only lacked the guts to start a war with the Norwegian Army – he was also too cowardly even to walk around shooting people on a city street; he had to find an island full of unarmed children to go up against with an automatic rifle. Breivik goes way beyond the average murderer; there is no justification for keeping such an inhuman thing alive.

    November 30, 2011 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Paul Ronco

      He did not choose to kill those children because they were easier than the Army. By murdering children at a summer camp for Norwegians' liberal and in-power political party, he was killing a next generation of future leaders.

      November 30, 2011 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
  4. nelkhoury

    Amazing – kill so many innocent people and claim temporary insanity.

    November 30, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sean

      Sounds like every Crusading Christian in history. “god made me do it” lol

      November 30, 2011 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jenny K

      Sean, how is that any different from any other person who claimed their conviction made them take an action? Religious and non-religious people alike join armies and fight wars. They fight for their principles or survival and commit their crimes regardless of their stance on faith. So are they all crazy?

      November 30, 2011 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jenny K

      Btw, nelkhoury, I'm with you on this one. Dude knew exactly what he was doing. I just don't think it can be compared as Sean has compared above.

      November 30, 2011 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sean

      I didn’t say he was crazy. In fact I believe he knew exactly what he was doing. By your argument the Muslim extremist are no different than the legitimate militaries of the word. This man is no different than the 9-11 hijackers. My point is this is historically common for the religion he claims. Next time, read with your brain and leave the knee jerk emotions at the door.

      November 30, 2011 at 5:00 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Eric of Reseda

    And this is why Europe is wrong on the death penalty. Some people simply deserve to die, for the good of society. And it's not just victims will have to go through a hearing every three years, their taxes will also go toward providing this guy free room, board, medical, etc., taxes that could be better spent on the community.

    November 30, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tex71

      Yes, there are exceptions to every rule. Breivik would make a great example of an exception to the idea that criminally insane people can be treated or reformed. Double-tap to the skull and dispose from the deck of a boat sixteen miles out in the North Sea.

      November 30, 2011 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Paul Ronco

      I think that sending him to the Norwegian "love prison" for 20 years and seeing what becomes of him would be an interesting experiment. He'd never get away. And even if he did, he could never again plan another attack of that magnitude, let alone obtain a firearm with every INTERPOL office on the entire EU continent hunting for him.

      November 30, 2011 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Paul Ronco

      Europe is not wrong on the death penalty and it should be abolished in all cases with no exceptions.

      November 30, 2011 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Tex71

    Breivik wanted to start a war but was too chicken to fire on anyone who might shoot back. I wonder if he would have the guts to go bare knuckles with an old man. I would gladly oblige, as long as they remove time limits and referees.

    November 30, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Paul Ronco

      He intentionally chose the summer camp because he wanted to kill as many of the next generation of future liberal party leaders as he could.

      November 30, 2011 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Cool

    Are you kidding me, CNN?? Just yesterday the story was about Norwegians were taking it in stride, that they have a different view of justice than the US, and they were fine as long as he isn't back on the streets. Now you say they're "furious"?? That really calls into question your credibility.

    November 30, 2011 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
  8. arlen

    Maybe its better this way. One of the victims loved ones will get a hold of this guy if he is out and about being "treated".

    November 30, 2011 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Soulcatcher

    The funny story is the insane assylums are run by immigrant doctors.

    November 30, 2011 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
  10. ronvan

    While I understand that people can be "completely crazy/insane", for me, there are only two options. #1: Death penalty to be carried out as soon as possible,NO bargains behind closed doors. #2 They are locked up, FOREVER, with NO possibility of parole! Anything else is a disgrace to those who were killed and their families.

    November 30, 2011 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
  11. g.r.r.

    2 words:
    John Hinkley.

    He is begging to be let out after wounding reagan. And that was 30 years ago. This killer will be BEGGING to get out as well and there is ZERO chance that will happen.

    November 30, 2011 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |

    Who says you can trust psychiatrists?

    November 30, 2011 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bugmenot

      They themselves do.

      November 30, 2011 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
  13. james phillips

    Almost Beyond Belief he should B Executed ASAP 4 his murderous horrific terrorist act and his remains cremated + thrown in the bay where he murdered the 77 innocent people hopefully his soul will then go 2 @ special place in Hell where he wil B tortured 4Ever + Ever in Eterenety Amen.

    November 30, 2011 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
  14. FauxNewz

    In Norway, this now means the most he can be sentenced to is, self-improvement classes at a community college.

    November 30, 2011 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
  15. taxed

    No death penalty. What's the difference whether he is fed and pampered in a prison or a nut house. Either way he got away with killing all those people and until the day he dies he has chances to kill more.

    November 30, 2011 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
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