|Saturday, 23 June 2012 14:28|
Norwegian prosecutors asked a trial court here Thursday to order Anders Behring Breivik, who has admitted killing 77 people, confined for compulsory psychiatric treatment instead of sentencing him to prison.
Almost 10 weeks of testimony in the trial of Breivik, 33, showed that he was psychotic at the time of the killings in July, the prosecutors argued.
While there is some doubt about whether he is legally sane now, that doubt requires that he be hospitalized rather than imprisoned, they said.
"In our opinion, it is worse that a psychotic person is sentenced to preventative detention than a nonpsychotic person is sentenced to compulsory mental health care," Svein Holden, one of the prosecutors, told the court.
Breivik, 33, has acknowledged planting a bomb in central Oslo July 22 that exploded, killing eight people, and then traveling the same day to the island of Utoya, where he fatally shot 69 people, mostly teenagers, belonging to the youth wing of the ruling Labour Party.
He has insisted that he was and is sane; that he killed in self-defense, carrying out what he called his "operation" to combat the "Islamic colonization" of Europe; and that an insanity judgment would detract from his cause.
As Holden concluded his statement in the courtroom, Breivik smiled broadly, and as he was led out of the courtroom, he repeated the fist-pumping gesture that he affected in the first few days of the trial.
The first court-ordered assessment of his mental health, submitted in November, found him to be psychotic and a paranoid schizophrenic.
Authors of the report said Breivik suffered a psychotic meltdown in 2006 when he lost money in a failed financial deal, moved back in with his mother in western Oslo and began playing "World of Warcraft," an online role-playing game, for 16 hours a day.
His mental condition left him "emotionally flattened," the report said, and led to the delusion that he was a member of a pan-European militant network that had invested in him the right to choose who should live and die.
Breivik maintains that the militant network really exists, a contention that prosecutors say is absurd. Police interviews and their own cross-examination, they say, reveal someone who has substituted a myth for an unsatisfactory life story.
"Instead of causing fear, a tragic person emerges: a young man who, in his struggle to be big, becomes part of an imaginary network which lets him reach his unattainable goal," said Inger Bejer Engh, a member of the prosecution team.
A second court-ordered mental health assessment, delivered in April, found that Breivik was sane at the time of the attacks. But prosecutors paid little heed to that report in their arguments.
If the court agrees with the April report and finds that Breivik was sane, it can sentence him to a maximum of 21 years in prison, although he can be held past the end of his sentence if he remains a danger to society.
If the court accepts the prosecutors\' argument, it can order him held indefinitely for compulsory treatment.