Experts: Norway mass killer sane
A new psychiatric assessment of Anders Breivik has said the right-wing fanatic was sane when he killed 77 people in a bomb and gun massacre that jolted the world's image of terrorism.
Both the prosecution and the defence will say Breivik killed 77 people at a Labour Party youth camp outside Norway's capital Oslo when he goes on trial next week. The only question has been whether the self-styled anti-Muslim militant was sane when he did it.
"Our conclusion is that he (was) not psychotic at the time of the actions of terrorism and he is not psychotic now," Terje Toerrissen, one of the psychiatrists who examined Breivik in prison, said.
The twin attacks on July 22 last year - a bomb in Oslo's government district followed by a shooting spree at the youth camp - brutally shocked Norway and reminded the West of terror threats other than al Qaida.
The blond, blue-eyed gunman surrendered to police on a lakeside island where the bodies of his many teenage victims lay scattered. He claimed he was the Islamic terror group's antithesis, a modern-day crusader waging a war against Islam in Europe.
Breivik, 33, confessed to the attacks but rejected criminal guilt, saying he had acted to protect Norway from being overrun by Muslims by targeting the left-leaning political establishment he claimed had betrayed the country with liberal immigration policies.
The psychiatric report presented to the Oslo district court on Tuesday backed up Breivik's own claim that he is sane, and contradicted an earlier assessment that declared him psychotic and suffering from paranoid schizophrenia.
That first diagnosis was met widespread criticism, prompting the court to order the second review.
Breivik's defence lawyer Geir Lippestad said the new report meant Breivik's evidence would be crucial "when the judges decide whether he is insane or not". The trial starts on Monday and is due to last 10 weeks.
It is up to the judges to decide whether Breivik is mentally competent to be sentenced to prison. If not, he will be committed to compulsory psychiatric care. Either way, there are provisions in Norwegian law that could keep him locked up for the rest of his life.