Norwegian gunman Anders Breivik could avoid prison after two psychologists found he was insane during his July 22 massacre.
If a court agrees with that assessment, the self-declared anti-Muslim militant cannot be sentenced to prison but will be subjected to compulsory psychiatric care, prosecutors told reporters in Oslo.
“The conclusions of the forensic experts is that Anders Behring Breivik was insane,” prosecutor Svein Holden said, adding Breivik was in a state of psychosis during Norway’s worst peacetime massacre.
In Norway, an insanity defense requires that a defendant be in a state of psychosis while committing the crime with which he or she is charged.
That means the defendant has lost contact with reality to the point that he’s no longer in control of his own actions.
The 243-page report will be reviewed by a panel from the Norwegian Board of Forensic Medicine, which could ask for additional information and add its own opinions.
The head of that panel told had reporters in July that it was unlikely that Breivik would be declared legally insane because the attacks were so carefully planned and executed.
Breivik admitted killing 77 people last month, including eight in a bombing in central Oslo.
But the 32-year-old right-wing extremist denies criminal guilt because he believes the massacre was necessary to save Norway and Europe.
The two psychiatrists, in their report, concluded that Breivik lived in his ‘own delusional universe where all his thoughts and acts are guided by his delusions’.
In a rambling manifesto posted on the Internet before the attacks, Breivik wrote that his arrest would open ‘the propaganda phase’ of his operation to ignite a war to defend Europe against a supposed Muslim takeover.
Investigators say Breivik set off a fertilizer bomb outside the government headquarters on July 22, killing eight people, before heading to an island retreat, where youth sections of Norway’s governing Labour Party were gathered for their annual summer camp.
Disguised as a police officer, he opened fire on scores of panicked youth, shooting some of them as they fled into the lake.
Sixty-nine people were killed on Utoeya island before Breivik surrendered to a police SWAT team.
The carnage left Norway shocked and continues to haunt a nation that sees itself as peaceful and tolerant.
An online manifesto attributed to Breivik sheds light on his choice of targets. In it, he lays out a blueprint for a multi-phase revolution, targeting left-leaning political elites he accuses of destroying their own societies by admitting large numbers of immigrants, especially fromMuslim countries.
His actions were widely condemned, including by the anti-Islamic bloggers and groups that he cited prolifically in the document.
Oil-producing Norway, home to the Nobel Peace Prize, is known for its open society and relative prosperity, but the attacks sparked a public debate about immigration, security and a legal system which never had to cope with such an event.