REPORTING FROM LONDON -- A psychiatric evaluation has found that confessed killer Anders Behring Breivik, the man who bombed and shot 77 people to death in Norway in July, was clinically insane at the time of the attacks, prosecutors said Tuesday.
The finding could pave the way for psychiatric treatment for the right-wing, anti-Muslim militant instead of a prison sentence, according to Norwegian law.
On July 22, Breivik detonated a massive car bomb outside government offices in Oslo, the Norwegian capital, and then went on a shooting rampage on a nearby island where a political summer camp was being held. Witnesses say he methodically hunted down dozens of young people and shot them before surrendering without resistance when police finally showed up.
It was Norway's worst-ever peacetime massacre.
In a manifesto running to hundreds of pages, Breivik said his goal was to spark a revolution to reclaim Europe for Christianity and purge the continent of Muslims. He referred to himself as a crusading "knight" and accused "indigenous Europeans" of committing "cultural suicide" by allowing Muslims to settle in Christian lands.
If the court accepts the conclusion that Breivik was deranged when he carried out the attacks, then his trial would be suspended and he would be transferred from jail to a mental hospital, Norwegian media reported. He could then spend the rest of his life in psychiatric care, his freedom curtailed but not because of a prison sentence.
-- Henry Chu
Photo: Anders Behring Breivik, the man behind the massacre in Norway in July, in a photo from his Internet manifesto. Credit: Reuters