Photograph by Jon-Are Berg-Jacobsen/AFP/Getty Images.
Norway's Anders Behring Breivik was insane when he carried out this past summer's twin terror attacks that killed 77 people and should be sent to a psychiatric ward instead of prison, prosecutors said Tuesday.
The Associated Press reports that a court-ordered psychiatric evaluation of the confessed mass killer had determined that Breivik was psychotic during the July 22 attacks, which means that he is not mentally fit to be sentenced to prison. The 243-page mental evaluation was written by two psychiatrists who spent 36 hours talking to Breivik. The report will be reviewed by the Norwegian Board of Forensic Medicine before the court makes a final ruling on whether the the self-proclaimed resistance fighter was legally insane.
The report's conclusion contrasts with previous comments from the head of that board, Dr. Tarjei Rygnestad, who had suggested shortly after the attacks that it would be unlikely that Breivik would be declared legally insane because the terror plot were so meticulously planned and executed, something he said an insane person is typically unable to do in a state of psychosis. Likewise, a Norway judge said earlier this month that he had seen no evidence that Breivik was insane at the time of the attacks.
But Dr. Rygnestad conceded Tuesday that his earlier comments were based on "secondary information" and said that a person's true mental state can only be determined through in-depth analysis of the kind carried out by the two psychiatrists who had written the report. In an interview with the AP, he maintained his previous assertion that psychotic people typically can't carry out complex tasks that require extensive planning, but added: "Usually not. Then again, unusual things also happen."
Breivik has confessed to planning and executing the bomb and shooting rampage that rocked Norway this summer, but has denied criminal guilt by claiming that he is the leader of the nation's resistance movement against multiculturalism.