OSLO - Interviewing right-wing mass killer Anders Behring Breivikin jail was like meeting Hannibal Lecter, the cannibal in thehorror film "Silence of the Lambs", a psychologist said at histrial Monday. "Meeting Breivik was almost like meeting Hannibal," EirikJohannesen, who spent 26 hours speaking with the 33-year-oldextremist in prison, told the Oslo district court. Johannesen was called by Breivik's defence to back its case that hewas not crazy when he killed 77 people in Norway last year. While Breivik's guilt is not in doubt, his sanity is at the heartof the ongoing trial in Oslo, where he stands charged withcommitting acts of terrorism in his twin attacks in and near thecapital. |
He bombed a government building in Oslo, killing eight people, thenshot dead another 69, mainly teens, who were attending a summercamp held by the ruling Labour Party's youth wing on the island ofUtoeya. He says his actions were to stop Norway falling victim tomulticulturalism and a "Muslim invasion," and wants to beofficially declared sane in a bid to ensure that his ideology isnot written off as the ravings of a lunatic. Johannesen told the court he was "completely convinced" thatBreivik was not psychotic, attributing his radical views topolitical extremism and not mental illness. "In light of his ideology, I don't think that he can be treatedwith therapy or with medicine," Johannesen said. Experts have dramatically different opinions about Breivik'ssanity, with two court-ordered psychiatric evaluations reachingopposite conclusions.
The first conducted last year found him to be suffering from"paranoid schizophrenia" and therefore not responsible for hisactions, while the second carried out shortly before his trialbegan in April concluded that he was sane enough. The opinions voiced Monday by expert witnesses called by thedefence confirmed that they were still at odds, with psychiatricprofessor Einar Kringlen reversing his opinions. Kringlen said he no longer felt that Breivik was insane but insteadfavoured the second evaluation. "Evil cannot always be explained by illness," he said, pointing tothe Holocaust as an example.
If Breivik is found sane, he faces a 21-year jail term which couldbe extended indefinitely if he is still considered a threat tosociety. If he is found insane he would receive closed psychiatriccare, possibly for life. The five judges will rule on the question when they hand down theirverdict either on July 20 or August 24.
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