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. David

    There should be another classification of insanity in regards to punishment, basically insane with the capability of committing horrendous crimes in the future. This would provide for a life long sentence, as even if he gets on meds and appears to be recovered the potential for him to stop taking meds relapse will always exist.

    November 30, 2011 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Str8Vision

      I agree.

      November 30, 2011 at 6:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • jos

      I agree.

      November 30, 2011 at 6:52 pm | Report abuse |
  2. A Muslim

    How is it that insanity isn't a finding for muslim terrorists? So are we justifying those muslim terrorists actions by saying they are sane actions?

    November 30, 2011 at 6:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • SconnieGuz

      Because you can't charge someone that has blown themselves up into 100 pieces.

      November 30, 2011 at 6:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • WWJD

      Because, then, one cannot justify going to war with oil rich muslim countries!

      November 30, 2011 at 7:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • JJay

      It's due to the law not recognizing religion as the insanity it is. If people followed the Bible to the letter they would be out killing every day to make God happy. The Muslim problem is that they are not good enough hypocrites to ignore the insane parts of their scriptures. Excuse me I have to go back to communicating telepathically with invisible sky fairies.

      November 30, 2011 at 7:32 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Barny

    Yeah, like it actually took a certified shrink to figure this out.

    If you kill someone, you go to jail. But if they apprehend you slicing up your victim for fish bait, you go to the cuckoo ward.

    Lesson learned: Get caught while wearing a clown outfit.

    November 30, 2011 at 6:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • jos


      November 30, 2011 at 6:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ann

      Um, except Gacy got the death sentence, so that doesn't work.

      November 30, 2011 at 7:24 pm | Report abuse |
  4. hope

    He has that new mental disease called psychidsonprison. Chronic, I hear...

    November 30, 2011 at 6:22 pm | Report abuse |
  5. salman

    so, he kills 77 and is now gonna live in a mental-hospital till he dies. how long will i be jailed for dishing out justice again? our justice system sucks.

    November 30, 2011 at 6:27 pm | Report abuse |
  6. jos

    Are these liberals trying to prove the murderer's point?

    November 30, 2011 at 6:43 pm | Report abuse |
  7. jos

    The leaders of the world- lawmakers, judges, mental health "professionals"- are becoming collectively criminally insane.

    November 30, 2011 at 6:51 pm | Report abuse |
  8. p zombie

    Jos-no its just there are 3 sides to this. Your bloodthirsty side which is just as bad as breviks side and them the third side that addresses the situation from the side of trying to prevent tragedies like this. Its easy to issue judgement from behind a pc screen.

    November 30, 2011 at 6:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • jos

      Sounds like you're doing just fine. Thanks for the expert advice.

      November 30, 2011 at 6:58 pm | Report abuse |
  9. BC

    My forebears are Norwegian. These people are tough hard-nosed and yet compassionate. Seems that they have come to terms with their humanity. Society needs protection from Breivik and a hospital for the criminally insane is appropriate. This tragedy has tested Norwegians and they show us all the way to come to terms with such.

    November 30, 2011 at 6:53 pm | Report abuse |
  10. s

    This is one of those situations where Norwegiand can look at the U.S. to see what happens when mentally unwell people are put in prison. For people with schizophrenia, the stresses of prison can make it even worse. Considering the fact that this guy already carried out the worst mass murder in Norwegian history, do we really want to see what else he's capable of, or would we rather have him numbed out on antipsychotic medications and under
    supervision in a medical facility for the rest of his life so he can't hurt anyone ever again?

    November 30, 2011 at 6:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • s

      Sorry for the spelling errors, I'm on my phone.

      November 30, 2011 at 6:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • jos

      As long as you're not driving!

      November 30, 2011 at 7:00 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Bill

    LOL...Headline should read: "Tolerant, Liberal, Socialist Norwegians get own dose of lthe diease called Liberalism"

    November 30, 2011 at 6:56 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Str8Vision

    Perhaps if we had a decent system of identifying and caring for the mentally disabled, an individual that might pose a threat could be treated/restrained before a serious incident occured. Most people assume the habitual homeless in our country are all just lazy or drug addicts but in truth a great many of them suffer serious mental illness and are unable to function in our society even at a basic level.

    November 30, 2011 at 6:59 pm | Report abuse |
  13. SuperSeena

    who cares if he is insane....i could have diagnosed that from my couch.....either way he should be put away for life or put to death...the world gets no value whatsoever from his a mental hospital or drugged up at home..

    November 30, 2011 at 7:05 pm | Report abuse |
  14. JoBleaux

    They don't want him in prison with the general population stirring up stuff. He's never be free again. Good enough for the Norwegians apparently.

    November 30, 2011 at 7:15 pm | Report abuse |
  15. justice

    If he isn't really paranoid now and he is released, he will be soon.

    November 30, 2011 at 7:23 pm | Report abuse |
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