(LONDON) — Right-wing extremist Anders Breivik, who has admitted killing 77 people during a politically-motivated murder spree in Norway last summer, has been declared sane and fit to stand trial and will probably take the stand.
“The experts’ main conclusion is that the accused Anders Behring Breivik was not psychotic during the events on 22 July 2011,” a Norwegian court said in a statement. “That means that he is considered criminally responsible at the time of the crime.”
An earlier psychiatric report had found that Breivik suffered from paranoid schizophrenia. Both Breivik and some of the families of his victims objected to the diagnosis.
The families want Breivik to be legally responsible for his actions, and Breivik said in a 38-page letter to the Norwegian media that he considered the insanity diagnosis the “ultimate humiliation.”
Breivik has confessed to detonating bombs that killed eight people in downtown Oslo and to killing 69 people with a rifle on the nearby resort island of Utoya. Breivik said he committed the acts as part of a war on Islamic immigration to Norway and had targeted government offices and the youth summer camp of Norway’s ruling political party. He also told police that he had considered attacking U.S. President Barack Obama with a car bomb when Obama visited Oslo in December 2009 to accept the Nobel Peace Prize.
Breivik’s trial begins April 16. His defense attorney, Geir Lippestad, has said that the Breivik wants to be found guilty of the twin attacks. “He wants to be found sane and accountable,” said Lippestad.
Lippestad also said that Breivik will provide an explanation for his actions. “He will not only defend his actions,” said Lippestad, “but will also lament, I think, not going further.”
Given his client’s wishes, Lippestad will portray Breivik as sane, but as an extremist. To bolster his case, he plans to call both Islamic extremists and right-wing extremists to the stand. Lippestad says he will call Mullah Krekar, an Islamic extremist now resident in Norway, as a witness. Krekar, who once headed Ansar al-Islam, an Islamist group in Kurdish Iraq, has admitted meeting with Osama bin Laden and requesting backing for his group.
Lippestad said he wants to demonstrate that “Islamists also believe that Europe is the setting for a war of religion” and that therefore Breivik’s belief in such a conflict is not delusional. Breivik has written a 1,500 page manifesto outlining his motives.
The attorney told the French newspaper Le Monde that he also plans to call the Norwegian anti-Islamic blogger who goes by the name Fjordman to the stand. Breivik quoted Fjordman, whose real name is Peder Jensen, in his massive manifesto.
In their new report, psychiatrists said there was no evidence that mental illness had “significantly weakened” his ability to evaluate the outside world realistically. The doctors said they would provide more detail on Breivik’s mental state in court.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Paul Cruickshank and Michael Pearson, CNN