The 43-year-old man charged in a mass shooting in Oslo in late June is now undergoing at least eight weeks of psychiatric observation at Haukeland University Hospital in Bergen. It’s important for prosecutors to know whether he’ll be fit to stand trial.
Police had asked that Zaniar Matapour, who’s believed to be a radical Islamist, be committed to psychiatric care since he has an earlier diagnosis of mental illness. Matapour himself claims the observation is unnecessary, while he also consistently refuses to respond to police questioning or cooperate with the investigation of his case.
A court in Oslo initially granted the prosecution’s request to keep him in jail and in full isolation for at least another two weeks. Police then asked for the psychiatric observation in order to better assess his mental health. Matapour’s defense attorney John Chrsiatian Elden went along with the request, “even though the defendant thinks it’s unnecessary because he views himself as healthy and with no need for an examination.” Elden said he could understand court-appointed psychiatrists’ desire to observe him, too.
Matapour remains charged with murder, attempted murder and terror after starting to shoot on a downtown street on the night before Oslo Pride celebrations were getting underway. While he has refused to reveal his motives for the mass shooting that left two dead and several others wounded, police believe the shooting was a hate crime targeting non-heterosexuals. Another 330 people have already been questioned in the case, not least witnesses to the shooting that ended up disrupting most Pride activities.