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Norwegian Mass Killer Disputes 'Insane' Diagnosis

4/4/2012 8:01 PM ET

Anders Behring Breivik, the 32-year-old right-wing Norwegian extremist who confessed to killing 77 people in two separate terror strikes in July, has rejected an earlier psychiatric report which concluded that he was legally insane while carrying out the massacre.

In an open letter sent to the Norwegian daily "Verdens Gang" on April 4, Breivik insisted that more than 80% of his psychiatric report were wrong and described being sent to a psychiatric ward as the worst fate imaginable.

"Sending a political activist to a mental hospital is more sadistic and cruel than to kill him. It is a fate worse than death. I must admit that this is the worst that could have happened to me, as it is the ultimate humiliation," Breivik wrote in the 38-page letter.

In late November, two court-appointed psychiatrists, namely Torgeir Husby and Synne Soerheim, concluded that Breivik suffered from paranoid schizophrenia during and after the massacre. They spent 36 hours talking to the defendant on 13 occasions before reaching the final decision.

Nonetheless, in January, a team of three psychologists and a psychiatrist found the defendant fit for prison and insisted that he did not need psychiatric care. The team did not find him to be either psychotic nor schizophrenic. It was stressed that Breivik did not need medication and that he was not at risk of attempting to commit suicide.

The second team of experts was appointed by Norwegian prison authorities to find out what sort of care Breivik needed while in pre-trial detention after the earlier court-appointed mental evaluation declared him legally insane.

Breivik's trial is expected to begin on April 16. He is currently undergoing a second court-ordered mental evaluation after the conclusion of the first court-ordered evaluation contradicted with the findings of the team of experts who monitored Breivik in prison later.

Norwegian prosecutors have since charged Breivik under the anti-terrorism law that refers to violent acts intended to "disturb or destroy the functions of society, such as the government" and to spread "serious fear" among the population.

If convicted of the charges, Breivik faces at least 21 years in prison. Prosecutors have reveled intentions to seek involuntary commitment to psychiatric care for the defendant instead of a prison sentence unless new information about his mental health emerges in the course of the trial. But Breivik's lawyers indicated recently that their client wanted to be tried as sane.

The development comes nearly nine months after 77 people were killed in a deadly car bombing in the Norwegian capital Oslo and a shooting rampage on Utoya Island on July 22. While eight people were killed in the car bomb attack targeting government headquarters in central Oslo, 69 others were killed in the shooting rampage on Utoya.

Breivik has since admitted to carrying out both attacks disguised as a policeman, but denied criminal responsibility and refused to enter a guilty plea. Breivik claimed at an earlier court hearing that he had carried out the twin attacks to "save Norway and Western Europe from a Muslim takeover."

Breivik also blamed Norway's ruling Labor Party of "mass imports of Muslims" and stated that the objective of the attack was to give a "sharp signal to the people" of Norway. Although Breivik claimed to a member of a secret "resistance" movement, subsequent investigations have not found any evidence to support his claim.

by RTT Staff Writer

For comments and feedback: editorial@rttnews.com

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