© 2024 KALW 91.7 FM Bay Area
KALW Public Media / 91.7 FM Bay Area
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Norway's Mass Murderer Declared Insane, May Not Go To Prison

Anders Behring Breivik in 2009.
Norwegian police
AFP/Getty Images
Anders Behring Breivik in 2009.

Anders Behring Breivik had been delusional for a long time and was insane on July 22 when he killed 77 people during two horrific attacks in Norway, two psychiatrists reported today. He should be put in a psychiatric ward, not a prison, they conclude.

In a 243-page report for the court handling the case against Breivik, the psychiatrists describe a "paranoid schizophrenic" governed by delusions, Norway's TV-2 reports.

The news channel adds that the psychiatrists say the 32-year-old Breivik told them: "He committed the murders — or executions, as he calls them — for the love of his people. He characterizes himself as the most perfect knight after World War II, and that his organization — 'Knights Templar' — will take over power in Europe, and he suggests itself also as a future ruler of Norway."

The psychiatrists' report is to be reviewed by another panel of experts and is not binding on the court — though it will carry great weight. Norway's national broadcaster NRK says that if Breivik is put in a psychiatric facility instead of a prison, "it is in no way a lesser form of atonement." Security at such facilities "will be so good that it is not possible to escape," prison and forensic psychiatry specialist Kjersti Narud tells NRK.

The July attacks began with a bomb explosion in Oslo and were followed by a shooting rampage at a camp for young people on an island outside the city.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Mark Memmott
Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.