AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE
OSLO: Anders Behring Breivik, on trial for killing 77 people in Norway last July, told an Oslo court today he would not appeal a certain guilty verdict if the judges deem him to be sane. “There is absolutely no reason to appeal if I am declared criminally accountable,” said the 33-year-old rightwing extremist who wants to be found sane — even if it means facing a long prison sentence — so that his Islamophobic ideology will not be considered the ravings of a lunatic.
Breivik has confessed to the twin attacks but has refused to plead guilty, insisting they were “cruel but necessary” to stop the ruling Labour Party’s “multicultural experiment” and the “Muslim invasion” of Norway and Europe.
The question of Breivik’s sanity is a focal point of the trial. A first psychiatric evaluation conducted last year by two court-appointed psychiatrists found Breivik to be psychotic, suffering from “paranoid schizophrenia” and therefore not responsible for his actions. That diagnosis would likely lead to Breivik being sentenced to a closed mental ward. But a second opinion, which the court ordered after the first one sparked a controversy, concluded that Breivik was sane enough to be held responsible for the attacks.
If found of sound mind, he would likely face Norway’s maximum 21-year prison sentence, which can be extended for as long as he is considered a threat to society.
On July 22, 2011, Breivik gunned down 69 people on the island of Utoeya, most of them teenagers who were attending a Labour Party youth camp, while another eight died when he bombed a government building in Oslo earlier the same day.
Ultimately it will be up to the five judges to decide whether he is sane when they hand down their verdict in July.
The judges will base their decision on the psychiatric evaluations and testimony expected in mid-June from the authors of those reports, as well as other psychiatric experts.
“The question of an appeal lies therefore in the hands of the judges,” Breivik said today, appearing to put pressure on the court to find him sane.