Defendant ‘insane,’ faces new charges

UPDATED: Norwegian police are considering boosting charges against Anders Behring Breivik, who has admitted he bombed Norway’s government headquarters and gunned down scores of people at a Labour Party summer camp on Friday. Now he may be charged with crimes against humanity, while his defense attorney believes he’s insane.

Newspaper Aftenposten reported Tuesday that the charges of crimes against humanity are included in a new paragraph of Norway’s penal code that allows for a 30-year prison term, up from the 21-year term that has ranked as the country’s toughest punishment.

Lengthy custody looms
State prosecutor Christian Hatlo told reporters after Breivik’s custody hearing on Monday that the 32-year-old defendant expects to remain in some form of custody for the rest of his life. Hatlo said the defendant has remained calm both during questioning and at the custody hearing that was conducted behind closed doors.

“He had a strong need to clarify why he did what he did,” Hatlo said. “He was allowed to do so, but when he began to read from his so-called manifesto, and it started taking a lot of time, the judge interrupted him.”

Breivik is currently charged with committing terrorist acts, which, if Breivik is found guilty, would result in a maximum prison term of 21 years. Hatlo told Aftenposten that the police will evaluate the terrorist acts under the penal code provision adopted in 2008 that encompasses crimes against humanity, in this case, targeting a group because of its political foundation. That relatively new paragraph in the penal code carries a maximum prison term of 30 years.

Hatlo stressed that the tougher charges are only a possibility. It’s also possible that Breivik ultimately will be sentenced to forvaring (protective custody subject to continual re-evaluation that may keep him in confinement for the rest of his life) or be committed to a psychiatric institution.

Thought he’d be shot
Breivik’s defense lawyer, Geir Lippestad, told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) that Breivik had told him he thought he’d be shot by police when he was captured after his massacre on the island where the Labour Party’s summer camp for its youth organization AUF was being held.

Lippestad also said Breivik has his own version of reality regarding Norway’s legal system and thought prisoners were tortured in Norwegian prisons. Lippestad declined to elaborate, but told reporters on Tuesday that he thinks his client is insane.

Lippestad already had said, just after agreeing to serve as Breivik’s defense counsel, that he thought Breivik’s mental state needed immediate evaluation. Lippestad said Breivik has repeatedly said he’s involved in a war and that the world doesn’t understand his viewpoints.

He confirmed that Breivik expects to be imprisoned and has remained calm since his arrest Friday evening. He’ll be examined by two individual court-appointed psychiatrists.

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund
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