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Doctors testify that Breivik is sane

The mental state of terror defendant Anders Behring Breivik continued to be analyzed and debated in an Oslo courtroom this week. A series of psychiatrists, other medical experts and psychologists testified that they think Breivik is sane and can be held accountable for his attacks last summer that killed 77 persons.

The trial of terror defendant Anders Behring Breivik is in its ninth week, with psychiatrists testifying and arguing about his mental health. PHOTO: NRK screen grab/Views and News

One professor among those testifying, Einar Kringlen of the Institute for Clinical Medicine at the University of Oslo, said he thinks the prosecution still seems inclined nonetheless to accept an initial report from two court-appointed psychiatrists that determined Breivik to be insane.

“I hope they’ll change their minds, but it seems like they now, at least through their argumentation, accept that he’s insane,” Kringlen told Aftenposten after he’d testified.

“We have a tendency to clarify everything through sickness,” Kringlen added. “But being vicious isn’t always based on illness. There are clearly no limits on how vicious humans can be.”

Kringlen testified that Breivik is not psychotic, has no narcissistic personality disturbances, no mental delusions and no anti-social behaviour from a clinical perspective. His views were supported by several other medical colleagues but prosecutor Svein Holden challenged him, asking whether he thinks Breivik’s alleged network called Knights Templar exists. When Kringlen answered that he hadn’t formed an opinion on that, Holden asked whether the existence of such an organization couldn’t be relevant to the issue of whether Breivik suffers from delusions. The police and prosecutors think Breivik made it up, and that Knights Templar does not exist.

Kringlen responded that he doesn’t think the existence of such an organization is relevant. “That’s just two claims opposing each other, and you can’t draw any psychiatric conclusions out of that,” he said.

Holden denied the prosecution has made up its mind on the insanity issue, saying he and his colleagues were trying to be as objective as possible and that it was too early to draw any conclusions, not least since the four court-appointed psychiatrists won’t testify until later in the week. They disagree among themselves.

Also testifying so far this week were members of the psychiatric team at Ila Prison who examined Breivik where he’s being held in custody. They also believe him to be sane, with Dr Eirik Johannesen testifying that Breivik couldn’t have shown signs of psychosis without them being picked up. “His political positions are extreme, but I don’t evaluate that as an altered reality for psychiatric reasons,” agreed Dr. Arnhild Flikke.

Breivik, according to Kringlen, is a terrorist who had one goal: His fight against Muslims. To achieve his goal, “everything was allowed,” Kringlen said. Including the murders of 77 persons.

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund

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