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Breivik: Insane diagnosis based on 'fabrications'

Published April 25, 2012 11:13 am

Extremist on trial • He claims the deadly attacks were "necessary" and that the victims had betrayed Norway.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Oslo, Norway • Mass killer Anders Behring Breivik slammed a psychiatric report that declared him insane, insisting Wednesday it was based on "evil fabrications" meant to portray him as irrational and unintelligent.

"It is not me who is described in that report," the right-wing extremist, who has admitted to killing 77 people in a July 22 bomb-and-shooting rampage, said in court.

A second psychiatric examination found that Breivik was sane. The five-judge panel trying Breivik on terror charges for the attacks will consider both reports.

Breivik's mental state is the key issue that remains unresolved in the trial, since he has admitted to a bombing in Oslo's government district that killed eight people and a subsequent shooting massacre at a Labor Party youth camp that left 69 people dead, most of them teenagers. He claims the attacks were "necessary" and that the victims had betrayed Norway by embracing immigration.

If found guilty and sane, Breivik would face 21 years in prison, though he can be held longer if deemed a danger to society. If declared insane, he would be committed to compulsory psychiatric care.

"To a political activist, the worst thing that can happen is to end up in a mental hospital," Breivik said. "That would delegitimize everything you stand for."

Breivik showed no remorse Wednesday as he listened to testimony describing the horrific injuries of the bombing victims, declaring instead that if anyone should apologize it was the governing Labor Party.

He said he had hoped they would change Norway's policy on immigration after his attacks.

"But instead they continue in the same direction, so the grounds for struggle are unfortunately even more relevant now than before July 22," Breivik said.

Sounding irritated, the 33-year-old Norwegian accused the two psychiatrists who declared him psychotic of deciding on the diagnosis prematurely, saying their judgment was clouded by their emotional response to the attacks.

"These are not innocent misunderstandings, they are evil fabrications to support their conclusion," Breivik said, adding that the psychiatrists lacked "expertise in evaluating violent political activists."

He also criticized the second report on his mental health, by two other psychiatrists who found him "narcissistic" and "dissocial" but not criminally insane.

"I don't agree with any of the diagnoses," Breivik said.

Breivik claims to belong to an anti-Muslim militant group inspired by medieval crusaders and working with two other cells in Norway. Investigators have said they don't believe the group exists, and prosecutor Svein Holden noted that the second psychiatric report described it as a "fantasy."

"It is a real network," Breivik insisted, saying that police cannot conclude that the group doesn't exist just because they haven't found it.

"If you use that logic, then I didn't exist either before July 22," Breivik said. "I wouldn't want to be the police spokesman when the next attack happens in Norway. Because it will happen."

Asked what he thought his life would be like after the trial, Breivik said he expected to be imprisoned for life rather than "chemically lobotomized."

"I think all of Norway has seen that I'm not irrational," he said. "I'm not worried about that anymore."

Earlier Wednesday, victims' relatives sobbed in the courtroom as forensic experts presented autopsy reports of those killed, including two passers-by who were torn to pieces by the Oslo bombing. Breivik was expressionless.

A 26-year-old man who was hit by debris on the street outside the building and hospitalized for three weeks recalled that he didn't immediately realize that he had been injured.

Eivind Dahl Thoresen testified that it was only when he rushed to help another victim that he realized something was wrong with him, too.

"The way he looked at me: 'Are you going to help me? Look at yourself,'" Thoresen told the court.

Thoresen said he then saw blood pumping out of his left arm. His jeans were soaked with blood. He sat down and cried for help as panic started to set in.

Two people provided first aid, bandaging his wounds with clothes that Thoresen was carrying. Thoresen's lawyer showed the court a picture of the grim scene, taken by one of the men who helped him. Thoresen was on the ground, grimacing in agony, his white T-shirt stained by blood.

"I felt alternately cold and warm," Thoresen said. "At that point I was sure I would die."

He was taken to a hospital where doctors surgically removed shards from his arms and legs. He had another operation just a few weeks ago and still walks on crutches.