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Experts defend Breivik schizophrenia diagnosis

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08:53 CEST+02:00
Two experts who examined Anders Behring Breivik defended on Thursday their diagnosis that the Norwegian self-confessed mass killer is psychotic and therefore not criminally responsible for his actions.

Torgeir Husby and Synne Sørheim have faced criticism for diagnosing the 33-year-old Breivik last year with paranoid schizophrenia as many in Norway want him found sane and therefore responsible for his actions.

Having observed Breivik since the April 16 start of his trial, the pair said they stood by their initial diagnosis.

"He thinks he's going to save us all from our losing fight in the battle between good and evil. In combat, he thinks he has responsibility and a mission consistent with deciding who has the right to live or die," Sørheim told the Oslo court.

The question of Breivik's sanity is key to his trial. Although judges are certain to find him guilty, they must decide if he was criminally sane or not when he massacred 77 people in a shooting spree and a bomb attack last July.

Husby and Sørheim said Breivik believes he is a commander with the "Knights Templar", a group whose existence Norwegian police have not proven.

The experts made their initial diagnosis in November, following 13 interviews with Breivik. Their conclusion shocked some in Norway who saw his meticulous planning of the July 22nd attacks as evidence he was not psychotic.

Norwegian authorities commissioned a second psychiatric report that found Breivik to have a narcissistic personality disorder, but no sign of psychosis.  

Breivik, who has admitted the killings, wants to prove his sanity because he thinks more people would give credence to his right-wing extremist ideology.

Judges are expected to rule on the matter either July 20th or August 24th.

If he is found sane, he faces a 21-year jail term which could be extended indefinitely if he is still considered a threat to society. If he is found insane, he could receive closed psychiatric care, possibly for life.

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