• Norway edition
 

Prosecutors want Breivik to be found insane

Published: 21 Jun 2012 14:56 GMT+02:00
Updated: 21 Jun 2012 17:32 GMT+02:00

Anders Behring Breivik, who killed 77 people in Norway last July, should be locked up in a psychiatric ward instead of prison, the prosecution said Thursday, arguing his sanity had not been proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

Should the Oslo district court judges however find that the confessed killer is sane, prosecutor Svein Holden asked them to sentence Breivik to Norway's maximum penalty of 21 years in prison, which can be extended for as long as he is considered a danger to society.

A visibly angry Breivik stood up and made a fascist-style stiff arm salute when he heard the call for psychiatric confinement.

"Our request is that he be obliged to undergo psychiatric treatment" in a closed unit, Holden said, wrapping up the prosecution's three-hour closing arguments on the next-to-last day of the trial.

"If the court concludes ... that Breivik is responsible, the prosecution deems that the conditions have been fulfilled for prison" with a provision allowing the sentence to be extended, he added.

In such case, Holden said, "there is no doubt that Breivik must receive the harshest penalty: 21 years" with the extension provision.

Following Holden's remarks, the 33-year-old right-wing extremist stood up and touched a clenched right fist to his chest before stretching his arm out in a nationalist salute he had made on the first days of his trial in April but had stopped doing at the request of his lawyers.

Breivik is intent on being found sane to ensure his Islamophobic ideology is not written off as crazy ravings.

The five judges are expected to announce their verdict on either July 20th or August 24th. The trial is to wrap up on Friday with the defence's closing arguments.

Laying out the prosecution's arguments, Holden said he would rather err on the side of caution, stressing it was worse to sentence someone who is psychotic to prison than to send someone who is not psychotic to psychiatric care.

"We are not convinced or sure that Breivik is criminally insane, but we are in doubt," Holden said.

Psychiatric evaluations of Breivik's mental health have sharply contradicted each other.

But Holden and his colleague Inga Bejer Engh followed the line presented by a first court-ordered assessment, which found Breivik to be suffering from paranoid schizophrenia.

Holden pointed for instance to his stubborn claims about a militant nationalist network, the Knights Templar, despite "overwhelming evidence" that it did not exist.

Earlier, Bejer Engh told the court that "July 22nd, 2011 was and is still a national trauma. Thousands of people were directly or indirectly affected."

She cautioned that many of the most pressing questions in the case, including how "a citizen became a murder machine", probably would not be sufficiently answered to satisfy those affected.

On July 22nd, Breivik first set off a car bomb outside government buildings in  Oslo, killing eight people, before travelling to Utøya island, north-west of the capital, where he spent more than an hour methodically shooting and killing another 69 people, mostly teenagers.

The victims had been attending a summer camp hosted by the governing Labour Party's youth organisation.

"I find it difficult to find words to describe the 80 minutes he spent ... with only one goal: to kill as many people as possible," Bejer Engh said.

Breivik, who has been charged with "acts of terror", has told the court what he did was "cruel but necessary" to protect Norway from a wave of multiculturalism and a "Muslim invasion".

A majority of psychiatric experts who have observed Breivik in detention and in court have agreed that he is not suffering from a psychosis, but rather some form of personality disorder -- which would mean he could be sentenced to prison.

An opinion poll published Thursday indicated 74 percent of Norwegians want Breivik to be sent to prison, while only 10 percent think he should be sent to an insane asylum.

Breivik himself has said court-ordered psychiatric confinement would be "a fate worse than death."

The trial, which opened on April 16th, concludes on Friday with the defence lawyers' closing arguments. They are expected to call for Breivik to be acquitted, since, despite his confession, he has pleaded not guilty.

Alternatively, they will ask that he be found sane and sent to prison.

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
'Dalai Lama meet would make China clash eternal'
Parliament president Olemic Thommessen and Nina Elisabeth Høstmælingen Thommessen arrive at the Nobel Banquet at the Grand Hotel in December. Photo: Fredrik Varfjell/NTB Scanpix

'Dalai Lama meet would make China clash eternal'

The president of the Norwegian parliament has defended his decision not to meet the Dalai Lama when he comes to Oslo next month, arguing that to do so would destroy years of painstaking work to mend relations with China. READ () »

Labour councillor faces sack for gay church view
Ed Dawes. Photo: Facebook

Labour councillor faces sack for gay church view

A councillor from Norway's Labour Party risks being expelled after he argued on Saturday night that gay people who want to get married in church should start their own splinter sect. READ () »

Syria genebank sends seeds to Svalbard
The seeds are delivered the the Svalbard Global Seed Vault on Wednesday. Photo: Global Crop Diversity Trust

Syria genebank sends seeds to Svalbard

More than 80 percent of the valuable crop seeds kept in a gene bank in the Syrian city of Aleppo have been shipped to the Global Seed Vault in Svalbard for safekeeping, the bank's director general revealed on Tuesday. READ () »

Norway MPs slammed for Dalai Lama 'cowardice'
The Dalai Lama visiting Oslo in 2005. Photo: Håkon Mosvsvold Larsen/Scanpix

Norway MPs slammed for Dalai Lama 'cowardice'

Norway's parliament has been accused of cowardice after it declined to offer an official meeting to the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people, when he visits Norway next month. READ () »

VIDEO
VIDEO: Norway's incredible rolling robot
Kåre Halvorsen chases the MorpHex rolling robot. Photo: Screen Grab YouTube.

VIDEO: Norway's incredible rolling robot

This rolling spider-like robot is the stuff of sci-fi nightmare, so there's something strangely cute about watching the three-year-old son of its creator chase it around a basketball court. READ () »

Putin praises new Nato chief Stoltenberg
Then Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg meets Vladimir Putin at his official residence in Moscow in 2009. Photo: Terje Bendiksby / Scanpix POOL

Putin praises new Nato chief Stoltenberg

Russian president Vladimir Putin has praised Jens Stoltenberg, the incoming head of Nato, as "a very serious, responsible person", claiming the two have "very good relations, including personal relations". READ () »

South Sudan massacre 'must be investigated'
Børge Brende - Photo: Håkon Mosvold Larsen/NTB Scanpix

South Sudan massacre 'must be investigated'

Norway has called for an investigation into the massacre of some 200 civilians in the disputed South Sudanese town of Bentiu, declaring that "the guilty must be punished". READ () »

Norway teen has lived in cave for a year
da Beate Løken in her cave. Photo: Screen Grab Romerikes Blad TV

Norway teen has lived in cave for a year

A 19-year-old girl from the most fjord-filled region of Western Norway has been living a cave for almost a year with little but a high-grade sleeping bag to get her through the gruelling Norwegian winter. READ () »

Plumber stabbed workmate after gay jibe
Court psychiatrist Terje Tørrissen ruled the plumber was not psychotic. Photo: Håkon Mosvsvold Larsen / Scanpix NTB

Plumber stabbed workmate after gay jibe

A plumber in Norway has been sentenced to compulsory mental care after he drew a knife on his colleague and stabbed him ten times in the head and torso after the man called him a "grumpy little gay". READ () »

Hikers to wear green hats if 'open to romance'
Nils Øverås, secretary general of the Norwegian Trekking Association and Hanna Melhus, head of the organization's youth wing, posing for the April Fools message. Photo: Norwegian Trekking Association

Hikers to wear green hats if 'open to romance'

An April Fools' joke in which the Norwegian Trekking Association declared that all single people hiking over the Easter break should wear a green hat if they're open to romance triggered such a huge reaction that the association has decided to institute it for real. READ () »

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Tech
VIDEO: Norway's incredible rolling robot
National
Norway teen has lived in cave for a year
National
Hikers to wear green hats if 'open to romance'
National
Norway PM backs gay church weddings
National
Badger gets stuck in car grille and survives
National
Man at recycling plant finds $16,000 in old safe
Culture
Norway celebs plan own funerals in new show
National
Norway man finds adult toy in cod's stomach
International
McCain to vote down would-be envoy
Education
Oslo to get first Muslim primary school
Culture
VIDEO: Norway fans in second Sherlock skit
Culture
Clooney to film North Sea divers movie
Advertisement:
Society
VIDEO: Norway police's chilled way with drunk wows US
Education
VIDEO: Norway skydiver dodges meteorite
National
Oslo shortlisted for Green Capital 2016
International
Work to start on world's tallest wooden house
Culture
NRK boss: Slow TV 'difficult to joke with'
International
Stoltenberg named as next Nato boss
Society
'Silly walk' sign enrages roads agency
Norwegian tattoos McDonald's bill on arm
Sport
Norwegian man 'forgets' luxury boat for two years
Society
VIDEO: Oslo transformed into miniature city
International
GALLERY: Nato troops' Arctic 'selfies'
Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

331
jobs available