Anders Behring Breivik Trial: Norway Killer’s Prosecutors Ask For Psychiatric Care

Anders Behring Breivik, a far-right fanatic, who has admitted to the massacre and a bombing in Oslo on July 22, 2011 arrives in the courtroom in Oslo, Monday May 7, 2012. (Photo/Heiko Junge/NTB Scanpix, Pool)

Anders Behring Breivik, a far-right fanatic, who has admitted to the massacre and a bombing in Oslo on July 22, 2011 arrives in the courtroom in Oslo, Monday May 7, 2012. (Photo/Heiko Junge/NTB Scanpix, Pool)

Anders Behring Breivik Trial: Norway Killer’s Prosecutors Ask For Psychiatric Care

OSLO, Norway — Prosecutors on Thursday asked a court to send confessed mass killer Anders Behring Breivik to a mental institution instead of prison for his massacre of 77 people in a gun and shooting rampage.

If the court comes to the same conclusion when it issues its ruling, expected next month, it would mean that Breivik would avoid criminal responsibility for Norway’s worst peacetime massacre.

The attacks at Norway’s government headquarters and a youth summer camp would then not be considered acts of political terrorism, but the work of a blood-thirsty madman.

“We request that he is transferred to compulsory psychiatric care,” prosecutor Svein Holden told the court in closing arguments.

Though there was inconclusive evidence that Breivik was psychotic during the July 22 attacks, there were enough doubts about his sanity that he cannot be sentenced to prison under Norwegian law, Holden said.

The defense is likely to refute the insanity finding on Friday, the last day of the 10-week trial. Breivik, who styles himself as an anti-Muslim militant, claims he is sane and that his attacks were motivated by his political views.

Just like when the trial stared in mid-April, the 33-year-old Norwegian flashed a clenched-fist salute with his right arm before he was led out of the court on Thursday.

Earlier in the trial, Breivik said the psychiatric dimension of the case was a way for Norwegian authorities to ridicule him and divert attention from his ideology.

Breivik claims Norway and Europe are being colonized by Muslims, who make up about 2 percent of Norway’s population. He has said he selected his targets – a government high-rise and a summer camp for the governing Labor Party’s youth organization – to strike against the political forces he claims betrayed the country with liberal immigration policies.

Some of those who lost family members in the massacre were disappointed by the decision.

“They say they want this to be a correct judgment,” said Mette Yvonne Larsen, a lawyer for the bereaved. “They think that imprisonment would be a more justified outcome of what happened on July 22.”

Two teams of psychiatrists reached opposite conclusions about Breivik’s mental health. The first team diagnosed him with “paranoid schizophrenia,” a serious mental illness which would preclude a prison sentence. The second team found him legally sane, saying he suffers from a dissocial and narcissistic personality disorder, but is not psychotic.

Prosecutors said one of the key challenges to Breivik’s sanity was his insistence of belonging to a militant anti-Muslim modeled after the Knights Templar, a Christian military order during the crusades, even though investigators have found no trace of the network.

Though Breivik tried to tone down the significance of the network during the trial, he maintained that it exists and that there are two other cells in Norway.

After the hearing Thursday, prosecutor Inga Bejer Engh stressed that a commitment to psychiatric care would mean that Breivik would be put away for a long time, maybe for the rest of his life.

“We have murderers who have been sentenced to psychiatric care who will probably never get out again,” Engh said, noting that none of them had killed 77 people.

If the court opts for a prison term instead, prosecutors said their preference would be the maximum sentence of 21 years. A sentence can be extended beyond that if a prisoner is considered a menace to society.

Anders Behring Breivik Trial: Norway Gunman Complains Of Being ‘Subjected To Racism’

Defendant Anders Behring Breivik in court prior to the opening of day 6 of the trial in Oslo, Monday April 23, 2012. Breivik has admitted setting off a car bomb outside the government headquarters, killing eight, before unleashing a shooting massacre at the governing Labor Party's youth camp on Utoya. (AP Photo/Lise Aserud, POOL)Defendant Anders Behring Breivik in court prior to the opening of day 6 of the trial in Oslo, Monday April 23, 2012. Breivik has admitted setting off a car bomb outside the government headquarters, killing eight, before unleashing a shooting massacre at the governing Labor Party’s youth camp on Utoya. (AP Photo/Lise Aserud, POOL)

Breivik’s delusional fantasies continues. The victim card will not work for him.

Anders Behring Breivik Trial: Norway Gunman Complains Of Being ‘Subjected To Racism’

OSLO, Norway — Anxious to prove he’s not insane, confessed mass killer Anders Behring Breivik told a court Monday that questions about his mental health are part of a racist plot to discredit his extreme anti-Muslim ideology.

Breivik, who has admitted to killing 77 people in a bombing and youth camp massacre, said that no one would have asked for a psychiatric examination had he been a “bearded jihadist.”

“But because I am a militant nationalist, I am being subjected to grave racism,” he said. “They are trying to delegitimize everything I stand for.”

Breivik rejects criminal guilt for the rampage on July 22, saying the victims had betrayed their country by embracing immigration.

Even the defense admits there is virtually no chance of an acquittal, so the key issue to be determined in the trial is whether Breivik is criminally insane.

Two psychiatric examinations reached opposite conclusions on that point. In a statement to the court, the Norwegian Board of Forensic Medicine asked for additional information from two pscyhiatrists who found Breivik sane, saying their report was incomplete.

Breivik himself insists he is sane, and accuses the prosecutors of trying to make him look irrational.

“I know I’m at risk of ending up at an insane asylum, and I’m going to do what I can to avoid that,” he told the court.

Breivik became defensive as prosecutors quizzed him about sections of the 1,500-page manifesto he posted online before the attacks. It describes uniforms, medals, greetings and codes of conduct for the “Knights Templar” militant group that he claims to belong to. Prosecutors don’t believe it exists.

In one section, read by prosecutor Svein Holden, Breivik speculated that in his future society, the loyalty of potential knights might be tested by asking them to undergo surgical amputation and castration. Breivik chastised the prosecutor for what he called “low blows” and said the segment was taken out of context.

Breivik, 33, showed no remorse as he continued his shocking testimony about his shooting spree at the annual summer youth camp of the governing Labor Party.

Calling the rampage “necessary,” Breivik compared being shunned by those close to him to the grief of the bereaved.

“The only difference was that for my part it was a choice,” he said.

The self-styled crusader apologized to the family of a pub owner who was among the eight people killed in the blast outside the government offices in Oslo, saying it was not his intention to kill “civilians.”

Holden asked him if he wanted to express a similar apology to the families of the other victims, including the 69 killed on the youth camp on Utoya island.

“No I don’t,” Breivik said. “Utoya is a political indoctrination camp.”

“I see all multicultural political activists as monsters, as evil monsters who wish to eradicate our people, our ethnic group, our culture and our country,” he said.

Jon Hestnes, who heads a support group for victims’ families and survivors, told The Associated Press it was “gruesome” to listen to Breivik’s apology.

“It’s an insult to the 76 other people who actually died because of that man,” Hestnes said.

“He’s not in our world. He isn’t, and he doesn’t have humanity at all. The way I slap little mosquitoes in the summer, that’s how he is about human lives,” Hestnes said.

Speaking calmly, Breivik said he used a handgun to kill victims if the distance was less than 10 meters. Otherwise he used his rifle.

Asked why he spared one man who survived the shooting spree, Breivik said he thought it was because the man’s appearance made him look “right wing-oriented.”

“When I looked at him I saw myself,” Breivik said. “I think that was the reason that I didn’t fire shots at him.”

If found sane Breivik would face 21 years in prison, though he can be held longer if deemed a danger to society. If sentenced to psychiatric care, in theory he would be released once he’s no longer deemed psychotic and dangerous.

Anders Behring Breivik, Norway Mass Killer, Claims ‘Self Defense’ As Trial Begins

Anders Breivik wiped tears away as his video was shown to the court
Anders Breivik wiped tears away as his video was shown to the court

One might think that these are tears of remorse, but rather these tears are from watching his own propaganda video in court.

Anders Behring Breivik, Norway Mass Killer, Claims ‘Self Defense’ As Trial Begins

OSLO, Norway — With a defiant closed-fist salute, a right-wing fanatic admitted Monday to a bomb-and-shooting massacre that killed 77 people in Norway but pleaded not guilty to criminal charges, saying he was acting in self-defense.

On the first day of his long-awaited trial, Anders Behring Breivik rejected the authority of the court as it sought to assign responsibility for the July 22 attacks that shocked Norway and jolted the image of terrorism in Europe.

Dressed in a dark suit and sporting a thin beard, Breivik smiled as a guard removed his handcuffs in the crowded court room. The 33-year-old then flashed his salute before shaking hands with prosecutors and court officials.

“I don’t recognize Norwegian courts because you get your mandate from the Norwegian political parties who support multiculturalism,” Breivik said in his first comments to the court.

Eight people were killed in Breivik’s bombing of Oslo’s government district and 69 were slain in his shooting massacre at the left-leaning Labor Party’s youth camp on Utoya island outside the capital. Breivik has said the attacks were necessary to protect Norway from being taken over by Muslims.

“I admit to the acts, but not criminal guilt,” he told the court, insisting he had acted in self-defense.

The key issue to be resolved during the 10-week trial is the state of Breivik’s mental health, which will decide whether he is sent to prison or into psychiatric care. Anxious to prove he is not insane, Breivik will call right-wing extremists and radical Islamists to testify during the trial, to show that others also share his view of clashing civilizations.

Norway’s NRK television was broadcasting parts of the trial live but was not allowed to show Breivik’s testimony.

During Monday’s opening session, he remained stone-faced and motionless as prosecutors read the indictment on the terror and murder charges, with descriptions of how each victim died, and when they explained how he prepared for the attacks.

But Breivik suddenly became emotional when prosecutors showed an anti-Muslim video that he had posted on YouTube before the killing spree, wiping away tears on his cheek with trembling hands.

After a lunch break, Breivik was again expressionless as he watched prosecutors present surveillance footage of the Oslo explosion. The blast ripped through the high-rise building that housed government headquarters, blowing out windows and filling surrounding streets with smoke and debris.

He didn’t flinch as prosecutors played a three-minute recording of a young woman’s frantic phone call to police from Utoya.

“Shots have been fired,” Renate Taarnes, 22, said with panic in her voice. “I’m pretty sure that there are many injured.”

More than a dozen shots in close succession could be heard as Taarnes fell silent.

“Are you still there?” the police officer asked.

“Yes,” she whispered. She fell silent again, breathing into the phone as more shots cracked in the background.

Taarnes escaped the massacre unharmed and is scheduled to testify later in the trial.

Breivik also announced he doesn’t recognize the authority of Judge Wenche Elisabeth Arntzen, because he said she is friends with the sister of former Norwegian Prime Minister and Labor Party leader Gro Harlem Brundtland.

The anti-Muslim militant described himself as a writer, currently working from prison, when asked by the judge for his employment status.

He claims he targeted the government headquarters in Oslo and the youth camp to strike against the left-leaning political forces he blames for allowing immigration in Norway.

If deemed mentally competent, Breivik would face a maximum prison sentence of 21 years or an alternate custody arrangement under which the sentence is prolonged for as long as an inmate is deemed a danger to society.

Breivik wants to be judged as a sane person and will call radical Islamists, and extremists on the right and left to testify to support “his perception that there is a war going on in Europe,” his defense lawyer, Geir Lippestad, told the court. Lippestad said Breivik wants to read a new document he’s written at the start of his testimony on Tuesday.

While Norway has a legal principle of preventive self-defense, that doesn’t apply to Breivik’s case, said Jarl Borgvin Doerre, a legal expert who has written a book on the concept. “It is obvious that it has nothing to do with preventive self-defense,” Doerre told The Associated Press.

Police sealed off the streets around the Oslo court building, where journalists, survivors and relatives of victims watched the proceedings Monday in a 200-seat courtroom built specifically for this trial.

Thick glass partitions were put up to separate the defendant from victims and their families, many of whom are worried that Breivik will use the trial to promote his extremist political ideology. In a manifesto he published online before the attacks, Breivik wrote that “patriotic resistance fighters” should use trials “as a platform to further our cause.”

After he surrendered, Breivik had told investigators he is a resistance fighter in a far-right militant group modeled after the Knights Templar – a Western Christian order that fought during the crusades. Police, however, have found no trace of any organization and say he acted alone.

“In our opinion, such a network does not exist,” prosecutor Svein Holden told the court on Monday.

In his manifesto, Breivik described the supposed group’s initiation rites, oaths and the “clenched fist salute” that he used in court, symbolizing “strength, honor and defiance against the Marxist tyrants of Europe.”

After blowing up parts of the government building and shooting dozens to death on Utoya island, Breivik surrendered to police 1 hour and 20 minutes after he arrived on Utoya. The police response to his terror spree was slowed by a series of mishaps, including the lack of an operating police helicopter and the breakdown of an overloaded boat carrying a commando team to the island.

Breivik called police twice, saying he wanted to turn himself in. In one of the calls, played in court Monday, he identified himself as a commander of “the Norwegian resistance movement” and said he had “just completed an operation on behalf of Knights Templar.”

When the operator asked him to repeat himself, Breivik sounded irritated and hung up.

___

Associated Press writers Bjoern H. Amland and Julia Gronnevet contributed to this report.