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ANDERS BEHRING BREIVIK

Breivik: Mental ward a fate ‘worse than death’

Anders Behring Breivik, who is set to go on trial on April 16th for killing 77 people in Norway last July, said in a letter published on Wednesday that being sentenced to psychiatric care would be the worst fate imaginable.

Breivik: Mental ward a fate 'worse than death'
Photo: Heiko Junge/Scanpix (File)

"To send a political activist to an asylum is more sadistic and more evil than killing him! It is a fate worse than death," the 33-year-old right-wing extremist wrote in a 38-page letter, of which the Verdens Gang (VG) daily published a few extracts.

The letter aims to discredit, point-by-point, a report by two psychiatric experts, Synne Sørheim and Torgeir Husby, who concluded late last year that Behring Breivik was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia and was therefore criminally insane.

If the Oslo court judges reach the same conclusion at the end of his 10-week trial, the confessed killer will be sentenced to a locked psychiatric ward, possibly for life, rather than prison.

Behring Breivik, who has claimed to be on a crusade against multi-culturalism and the "Muslim invasion" of Europe, wants to be declared of sane mind, according to his lawyers, so as not to damage the political message presented in his 1,500-page manifesto published online shortly before the July 22nd attacks.

"I must honestly admit that that is the worst thing that could happen to me since it would be the ultimate humiliation," he wrote in Wednesday's letter.

Behring Breivik claims in the letter that he found more than "200 lies" in the psychiatric report, ranging, according to VG, from small language mistakes to whole paragraphs the right-wing extremist claims Sørheim and Husby made up.

"The problem is that 80 percent of the content in the 13 conversations (the experts had with Behring Breivik and which they based their conclusion on) is completely made up," he wrote in the letter.

Reversing roles, the confessed killer questioned whether Sørheim and Husby may have been so traumatised by his attacks that they were unable to be objective and should have be considered unfit to evaluate his mental state.

"The very brutal, and for them incomprehensible, actions, combined with our incompatible ideological opinion differences resulted in a conclusion that most probably emerged as a result of out-of control emotions, where the lack of a pragmatic approach was all but complete," he wrote.

"Their aim was quite clearly to create the premises that support the diagnosis they reached early on," he wrote.

The psychiatric experts' conclusion last year caused outcry in Norway and the Oslo court has ordered a second evaluation by two new experts who are set to present their findings on April 10, less than a week before the trial gets underway.

On July 22nd, Behring Breivik set off a car bomb outside government buildings in Oslo, killing eight people.

He then went to Utøya island, some 40 kilometres north-west of Oslo, and, dressed as a police officer, spent more than an hour methodically shooting and killing another 69 people, mainly teenagers, attending a summer camp hosted by the ruling Labour Party's youth wing.

"I of course knew right from wrong, but I acted instinctively," Behring Breivik wrote in his letter.

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TERRORISM

Kongsberg attacker killed victims with ‘sharp object’

Norwegian police said Monday that the five victims of last week's attack were killed by a "sharp object" used by the suspect, not a bow and arrows.

The Kongsberg attacker is said to have killed five people with sharp objects. Pictured is police tape from a separate incident.
The Kongsberg attacker is said to have killed five people with sharp objects. Pictured is police tape from a separate incident. Photo by Søren Storm Hansen on Flickr.

“At some point he discarded or lost his bow and arrows,” police inspector Per Thomas Omholt told reporters.

He said that during the attack on Wednesday the suspect killed “five people with a sharp object both in private addresses and in public spaces”.

Police, who had previously said that the suspect Espen Andersen Brathen was armed with a bow and arrows and two other weapons, did not specify the nature of the sharp weapons, adding that they were still interviewing witnesses.

“Everything points to the victims being selected at random,” Omholt said.

According to the police, more than 10 people were also shot at with arrows at the start of the attack, but none were killed with this weapon.

READ MORE: Norway police query Kongsberg attacker’s Muslim faith

During police questioning, Brathen has confessed to the killings and to wounding three others.

The 37-year-old Danish citizen has announced publicly that he is a convert to Islam and initially police reported that there had been fears of radicalisation.

He is however being kept in a medical facility pending a psychiatric evaluation, which is necessary to determine whether Brathen can be held legally responsible for his actions.

“As far as motive is concerned, illness remains the main hypothesis. And as far as conversion to Islam is concerned, this hypothesis is weakened,” Omholt added.

On Saturday, police announced the identities of the five victims, four women and one man: Andrea Meyer, 52, Hanne Merethe Englund, 56, Liv Berit Borge, 75, Gunnar Erling Sauve, 75 and Gun Marith Madsen, 78.

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