Prosecutors in Norway call for Breivik insanity verdict
- 21 June 2012
- From the section Europe
Prosecutors in Norway have called for self-confessed mass killer Anders Behring Breivik to be considered insane in their closing argument at his trial.
Prosecutor Svein Holden said there were still doubts about his insanity but he should be placed in psychiatric care, not sent to prison.
Judges in the trial in Oslo are due to deliver their verdict in the trial in July or August.
Breivik killed 77 people and injured 242 on 22 July of last year.
He bombed government buildings in Oslo before shooting young Labour Party supporters at an island camp.
Breivik, who insists he is sane, sought to justify his attacks by saying they were necessary to stop the "Islamisation" of Norway.
The defence concludes on Friday.
"We are not convinced or certain that Breivik is legally insane but we are in doubt," said Svein Holden.
"So we request that he is transferred to compulsory psychiatric care."
Mr Holden said it was worse to sentence a psychotic person to prison than to place a non-psychotic person in psychiatric care.
Earlier on Thursday, another prosecutor, Inga Bejer Engh, told the court it had always been the prosecution's clear view that the case should be treated like any other criminal case.
"We must also accept this court will never find all the answers to our questions," she added.
"How did he become this killing machine? How many did he try to kill on that day?"
Without a hint of regret, she said, Breivik had told the court how he had reloaded his gun while victims sat waiting for him to kill them on the island of Utoeya.
Thursday's recommendation by the prosecution upholds its call at the start of the trial in March for Breivik to be committed to psychiatric care.
Before the trial, psychiatrists commissioned by the court had found Breivik insane, suffering from paranoid schizophrenia, and therefore not responsible for his actions.
This caused an uproar in Norway. The court then ordered a second opinion which found Breivik sane, as did a number of other psychiatrists who had observed him in detention and in court
Breivik could be seen smiling at times as he listened to the prosecutor, and shaking his head while Mr Holden summed up.
Breivik gave a clenched-fist salute with his right arm before being led out of the courtroom.
Breivik's lawyers are likely to reject the insanity finding when they sum up on Friday, the last scheduled day of the 10-week trial.
There was disappointment among some of those injured or bereaved by Breivik, who would face a maximum prison sentence of 21 years if found sane and convicted of murder.
"They say they want this to be a correct judgment," said Mette Yvonne Larsen, a lawyer for the bereaved.
"They think that imprisonment would be a more justified outcome of what happened on 22 July," she was quoted as saying by the Associated Press news agency.
In her remarks to the court, Ms Engh pointed out that commitment to psychiatric care would mean Breivik being confined for a long time, maybe for the rest of his life.
"We have murderers who have been sentenced to psychiatric care who will probably never get out again," she said.