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. Ann

    Norwegian prisons are nice, so I wouldn't think this is a bloodlust/revenge issue. It's a "put him away and don't make us have to deal with him again" issue. I've not spoken with the man, but an insanity ruling does surprise me a bit. He was organized. He plotted. I'm sure he's a couple pickles short of a sandwich in many respects, but he wasn't out of control of his actions, as I understand it.

    November 30, 2011 at 7:28 pm | Report abuse |
  2. NotaPoster

    HE should be dead... oh well... it's their money. The man has no reason to live and is merely rotten meat that should be scrapped from society. Sure, you can lock it up in a room, but at the end, all that's it's going to do it's cost you and stink up the joint.

    November 30, 2011 at 7:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • RodBInNC

      it cost 3-4 million dollars more for a person to be put to death in the US (including original trial). It cost 35-50K per year for prison. It cost MORE to use the death penalty than it does to keep someone in jail for life.

      November 30, 2011 at 9:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Harpman

      It doesn't cost as much to execute the death penalty in some countries. I mean, how much does a 9 mm bullet cost?

      November 30, 2011 at 9:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Niclas

      RodninNC – you are a lier or at the very least you leave out some important aspects of your claim. The only reason it costs so much to execute people is because peaceniks such as yourself clog our system with appeals. By the way, I'm born and raised in Norway and hope Breivik dies a very painful death. Democrats here in the US want to copy the European ways. People watch and learn, you can murder dozens of people and they'll put you in a 3-4 star hotel for the rest of your life. Arbeide svinene

      November 30, 2011 at 9:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • NavaJohn

      I saw an article that said the same thing, that putting someone on death row is more expensive than life. The reason is the appeals process is so expensive as I remember.

      November 30, 2011 at 10:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • dudley0415

      Around here about 50 cents, plus postage to Norway.

      November 30, 2011 at 10:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • dudley0415

      I read an article that said Ru Paul was really a girl all along. Both that and an article that says life imprisonment is less expensive than capital punishment have about the same degree of believability.

      High cost in capital cases = the 25 years of judicial review, appeals, public defenders and other supports and administrations. The $10 worth of chemicals or a 50 cent bullet machts nichts.

      November 30, 2011 at 10:39 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Starrface

    This guy deserves to die for his deeds. To bad Norway can't execute their wrost of the worst. If he's insane that's all the more reason to get him off the face of the earth. If they can't execute him, in his home country, send him to Texas. Gotta love that state.

    November 30, 2011 at 8:01 pm | Report abuse |

    he just killed muslims lovers... atleast the pizzamen in that country will get better tips now..

    November 30, 2011 at 8:21 pm | Report abuse |
  5. john kesrouan

    You mean he won't get Viking Justice. Have all his limbs hacked off by a Berserker with a massive axe.


    November 30, 2011 at 8:22 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Kane

    Well of course he is insane. What he did was the very definition of insane. Anyone who willingly and readily committs acts, that if found not insane, would cause them to be hanged or locked up for life is necessarily insane. Catch 22. Hitler was also insane. The more we learn about mental health, the harder time courts will have.

    November 30, 2011 at 8:49 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Mark L. Luce

    I say, give him a fair trial, and then hang him.

    November 30, 2011 at 8:52 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Scholar

    In the us, insanity and mental illness r 2 different constructs. A person can Bw a schizophrenic or suffer from other type of mental illness and not necessarily be insane. Paranoid schizophrenia is a medical-psychological construct but insanity is a legal construct. As an expert witness in the field, and with all due respect to the psychiatrists who saw him, he appears to be very well organized and put together at the time of the crimes for him to be considered insane. This smells funny to me as if this young man comes from a family of wealth that was able to save his life, like is the case in most cases in the us where justice is dependent on economic means and it is far from blind.

    November 30, 2011 at 8:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pete/Ark

      The concept is generally called" the M'Naughten Rule". Based on "disability or defect" he either must not appreciate the criminality of his act or was unable to conform his behavior within the law due to compulsion in order to avoid guilt. This guy carefully hid his plan and has not raised any claim of "compulsion". In this country he would be toast... literally in some States.

      November 30, 2011 at 9:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Norski

      Calling the man insane is more "comforting" to Norwegians, as if saying that he is not one of our own. "The man is mad, not a product of our society". This whole incident was utterly embarrassing to Norway, and this is a way for the system to distance itself from it. There is a bit of societal denial going on here.

      November 30, 2011 at 9:45 pm | Report abuse |
  9. george lewis

    like I say... hang draw and quarter him then put each quarter on the 4 directional borders.

    November 30, 2011 at 9:14 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Harpman

    Chill out folks. This poor man has mental issues. Give him a break. He is probably another victim of society. They should take good care of him.

    November 30, 2011 at 9:34 pm | Report abuse |
  11. easternjustice

    In China, this Breivik guy would be shot to death in a week max. In Singapore, hanged. In North Korea probably fed to the starving. But no, in Norway, he gets a phat LCD with cable in a crazy's lounge with comfy padded walls.

    November 30, 2011 at 9:51 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Cheeseburger

    Norwegian society is so afraid of being wrong. Hell-bent on being Nobel Peace Prize morally and philosophically superior. Their wealth has them separated from the rest of Europe and living in what they believe is a modern day utopia. That will end when the oil and gas runs out and they can no longer fund their social democracy. That said, my relatives over there think the guy should get a bullet in the head. So, there is hope after all.

    November 30, 2011 at 9:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chrisseh

      Well we have a VAST oil recources reaching into the 2050, no bebt, high standard of living, high salery, no need to fear for our jobs etc. Your country is in immense bedt because you elected a christian extremist to lead you into Iraq and have been in was 24/7 for the last 20 years! Your own ignorance have lead you too your currecnt crisis while we stand high and migthy with one of the biggest economies in the world and the 4th largest fund in the world.

      December 1, 2011 at 6:35 am | Report abuse |
  13. AgrippaMT

    How sad that Norway, a lovely country, doesn't have a death penalty for mass murderers.

    November 30, 2011 at 10:13 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Harpman

    Oh well, one day he will be declared sane and will be released. He will accomplish wondrous things and we will all be so proud of him.

    November 30, 2011 at 10:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pete/Ark

      Good thing that we can't be sent to Hell for sarcasm...

      November 30, 2011 at 10:58 pm | Report abuse |
  15. peace

    Norway go ahead and show again the value of a human being !!

    November 30, 2011 at 10:59 pm | Report abuse |
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