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. james rousell

    This is a huge tradegy and my heart goes out to all those who have lost their lives or suffer from loss of their loved ones.

    November 30, 2011 at 11:03 pm | Report abuse |
  2. twiLls

    I vote we subject this p.o.s. To the exact same that his victims experienced. Would this not be fair? Doubtful, how can you inflict terror into someoNe like this.

    November 30, 2011 at 11:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • dianasbob

      But you still want to prosecute Bush as a war criminal?

      December 1, 2011 at 12:33 am | Report abuse |
  3. twiLls

    Do unto others as you would yourself.

    November 30, 2011 at 11:10 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Alex in NJ

    Wait, I thought Norwegians were open minded and "progressive." You're telling me they actually are actually admitting that bad people exist and that we live in the real world? How about that.

    November 30, 2011 at 11:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Daguz

      These are the least corrupt people on the planet, hence their government is an example to the rest of the world. The USA has the Government it deserves, ignorant and stuck on the 19th century.

      Scandanavia has the least corrupt Governments, Happiest people on earth and it hurts to know that those Athiest act more Christian than any Evangelical nutjob.

      December 1, 2011 at 12:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Haynes

      First of all Norwegians are typically Christian and our (indeed) judical system is founded on christian values like the American system is. The common conception in Norway is that Breivik should not be executed, but that he should spend a long time in prison. Personally, I haven't really heard too many strong reactions, but that he can be deemed insane and escape any "real" punishment is pretty strange. There's always a little more to being a "bad" person, but it seems pretty strange that this should excuse Breivik's crimes.

      December 1, 2011 at 1:51 am | Report abuse |
  5. Commojoe

    Alex, that's right, these are good liberals who are open-minded, as long as the bad things happen to others or in other countries, but let it happen there, and all of a sudden they become just like all of us bloodthirsty conservative Americans, wanting JUSTICE! Amazing, isn't it?

    November 30, 2011 at 11:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wow

      I'm just loving your outrage. It's just so Ah'Merican.

      They're asking for a man who murdered 77 people to face jail time. They aren't asking their country to invade two sovereign, albeit crummy, nations, lose another 5,000 of their citizens, drag another 15 countries into a war that's not theirs to fight and have them lose many of their countrymen, which makes them targets for terror plots, such as Spain and the UK, thus further destabilizing an already destabilized world.

      Europeans, despite your obvious, aversion and downright hostility towards any though that strays past center-right wing thoughts, DO believe in jail time for criminals. So long as the punishment fits the crime, so long as you have hard evidence to put the monster away forever.

      In the meantime, you really ought to follow European footsteps. Go and enlighten yourself, read a book, go to art show, learn some tact, humility and grace. But most of all, learn empathy. A trait that is often accused to be another word for PC in your slowly degenerating, formerly wonderful US of A.

      December 1, 2011 at 12:52 am | Report abuse |
    • tiki


      I wouldn't take anything written by anyone on a CNN comment board as being representative of the US or any other country

      December 1, 2011 at 12:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Bale

      That arrogance is what's wrong with Europe european culture (not that I would consider your post intellectual).
      "The once great Europe" would be fairly descriptive when talking about economy, culture and millitary – USA still being the number one superpower in the world on these three areas as well as the host of a moddest, less less-indulgent intellectual culture. I'm European though, but thankfully most European countries are too diverse to be easily labeled, and wherever you're from I'm sure most people living near you are a little less arrogant, a little less ignorant and a little less mentally retarded.

      December 1, 2011 at 2:04 am | Report abuse |
  6. Kat

    anyone who believe the crap that comes out of the Islamphobes web sites must be indeed insane.

    December 1, 2011 at 12:26 am | Report abuse |
    • Daguz

      Exactly, funny how it was Americans putting these ideas online into this nutjobs head.

      December 1, 2011 at 12:39 am | Report abuse |
    • tiki

      Daguz – you assume too much – I believe there are prominent European politicians responsible for islamaphobic propaganda – so your statement is more ignorant than the country of your apparent prejudice

      December 1, 2011 at 12:53 am | Report abuse |
  7. alex hong

    Muslim kills people= aware terrorist
    christian kills people = insane

    I see I see

    December 1, 2011 at 12:49 am | Report abuse |
  8. J6765891

    It is hard for me to accept that Breivik is insane when he carefully planned out this killing spree. I know that are understanding of the criminal mind is always changing, but from what has been said in this article, it hard to conclude that this was the work of an insane person.

    December 1, 2011 at 12:55 am | Report abuse |
  9. J6765891

    In addition, some sources have said that Breivik had been planning this attack since 2002. I think those psycharitrists might want to take a harder and longer look at Breivik's mental state at the time of the attacks before they declare him insane.

    December 1, 2011 at 12:58 am | Report abuse |
  10. Arman

    WOW! I think calling him insane is an insult to all the people who lost their lives and their families!!
    he clearly knew what he was doing he carefully planned everything and tried to do maximum killing.
    if he doesn't get maximum possible punishment for what he did then its injustice and unfair to all the innocents that got murdered by that filthy terrorist!
    so what after few years of "psychiatric treatment" he'll be released in to the public again??? WOW i'm just speechless.
    this person is a right wing christian extreme Terrorist and he should pay for what he did to those innocents I Think it would be a moral and right thing to do to lock him up for life if not death sentence.
    if this killer is classified as "insane" then we might as well classify all the murderers and terrorist as "insane" and they don't have to serve any jail time! this is crazy I still can't believe it.

    December 1, 2011 at 1:06 am | Report abuse |
  11. deathtomurderers

    execute him, killing 77 people is beyond "insanity", its criminal.

    December 1, 2011 at 1:11 am | Report abuse |
    • seattlemaven

      1000% agree!! It was premeditated and he knew exactly what he was doing....shrinks are overrated!

      December 1, 2011 at 1:19 am | Report abuse |
  12. DN3

    He was too high functioning to be a paranoid schizophrenic in my opinion.

    December 1, 2011 at 1:17 am | Report abuse |
  13. p zombie

    You are all so divided and sink to insulting each other. Thank god there are a few compassionate people left. I see 98% saying out a bullet in him-are you such an authority that can say if anyone should live or die? Maybe we should treat you all the same way? The insults will stop working as people realize there are people among the consciousness setting up and committing murders. You are creating a debt to be paid every time you maliciously attack someone. I don't even understand how you all can say you are one. I see good conscious people then I see the conscious trash. Guess where you all fall?

    December 1, 2011 at 1:29 am | Report abuse |
  14. ram

    Just remind me. Didnt the top dog in this country insinuate within hours of the killings that terrorists (muslims perhaps from the m.e.) were involved? If this is true, it shows the bias that people have hidden behind smiles and handshakes....much like many other countries in the west.

    December 1, 2011 at 1:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Bjørndalen

      The "top dog", or prime minister as we call him, didn't say that so it does in fact not show the bias that people have hidden behind handshakes and smiles. Even though insinuating that muslims were behind it would've been stupid and unprofessional I would completely understand if the PM had let his tongue slip a little bit and assumed that muslim terrorists were involved. After all, there have been many muslim terrorist attacks that have gotten a lot of media attention the last decade. Thankfully, Stoltenberg is a little more professional and the typical fake handshake and smile was exchanged with real tears for his friends and colleagues that were killed in the attack. Not everything is about the west blaming the east, you know. Stop looking for reasons to get angry.

      December 1, 2011 at 2:15 am | Report abuse |
  15. joey

    kill 77, ruin thousands of lives, terrorize a nation, go to a hospital, maybe later, get out, what a deal !!!

    December 1, 2011 at 2:20 am | Report abuse |
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