Norway’s Breivik stands firm on sanity claims

He anticipates being held in isolation in prison for the foreseeable future, where he would be able to write essays books and coordinate with far-right networks from his prison cell.

Breivik’s comments were reported by a team of court-appointed psychiatrists giving evidence on Monday, who have contradicted the diagnosis of two previous psychiatrists that he suffered from paranoid schizophrenia.

Terje Torrissen and Agnar Aspaas were asked to carry out a second assessment of Brevik’s mental culpability after the first examination diagnosing Breivik’s “psychosis” was leaked to the media triggering outrage.

The court was also told how Breivik had claimed to have received a steady stream of admiring fanmail including declarations of love from women and girls as young as 16. He added he had also received hate mail.

Torrissen and Aspaas, the final witnesses to give evidence in the trial of Breivik – who has admitted the murders and insists that he is sane – have said they had found no evidence of “psychosis”.

According to the two experts, Breivik said claims he had made in his assessment by the first two psychiatrists had been misunderstood or exaggerated.

One of the “presentational errors” he believes he made in his early conversations with police and psychiatrists was his emphasis on his position in and membership of the Knights Templar organisation.

Explaining his use of self-coined titles to describe himself in his “manifesto” – including “justiciar-knight” – Breivik explained that other terrorist groups gave themselves titles. 

Contradicting the first psychiatric assessment, Terrisson and Aspaas told the court that far from showing a decline in “functionality” in the period leading up to his twin gun and bomb attacks last July, he appeared to be functioning despite his isolation at his mother’s house.

Supporting this claim they quoted Breivik, who said he still felt he had a “choice” not to commit the attacks even as he drove his carbomb to Oslo’s government district on July 22.

While Synne Sørheim and Torgeir Husby found Breivik “grandiose and suffering from paranoid delusions” including the belief his manifesto could “automatically” radicalise anyone who read it, Terrisson and Aspaas found him “groomed, alert, focused, although emotionally neutral with few signs of persecution, neologisms and no hallucinations”.

To find Breivik insane – and not culpable under the penal code – the court must rule that he was suffering from a psychotic illness as opposed to a severe personality disorder.

Criticising the first psychiatric team, Breivik told the second that they had no specialist knowledge of international terrorism and said that Japanese or South Korean psychiatrists should have been appointed because of their strong “honour code”. – © Guardian News and Media 2012 


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