Breivik demands to be made head of army, but may not be deemed insane

 

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The Independent Online

Anders Breivik demanded to be appointed the head of the Norwegian army and called for the abdication of King Harald V during police questioning, but despite his apparent delusions of grandeur, forensic experts have concluded that the confessed killer is unlikely to be declared insane.

The 32-year-old right-wing extremist, who killed 77 people in Norway's worst violence since World War II, made his bizarre demands while being interrogated for a second time on Friday, a week after the massacre, police sources were quoted as saying yesterday.

Eight people died in the Oslo bomb blast of 22 July; two hours later he shot dead 69 youth members of Norway's Labour Party while they were attending a summer camp on Utoya island.

In her first interview since the attack, Sissel Wilsgard, 61, an Oslo office worker whose bloodied face featured on the front page of The Independent, spoke of her own ordeal. She had been sitting quietly in the offices of a government building when the bomb went off. "The window fell over my desk like a carpet," she told Norway's Dagbladet newspaper. She fled the building and wanted to comfort others who had escaped. "But I was covered in blood and I didn't want to get it all over them," she said. "It's important that such pictures get out so they can show what happens in terrorism attacks."

Breivik caused revulsion afterwards when he told his lawyer the massacre was a "gruesome but necessary" part of his plan to prevent "Muslim world domination". His lawyer said subsequently he believed Breivik was "insane" and until late yesterday his comments to police appeared to back up such an assessment.

According to unconfirmed police reports, Breivik told his interrogators that the government of Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg would have to resign and the King abdicate before he would agree to divulge any more information about the background to his attacks. One of his more extraordinary requests was that the chief of staff of Norway's armed forces should step down immediately and that he, Breivik, should be installed as his replacement. He had earlier told his lawyer he was "at war" and that as such his actions were totally justified.

Such comments have led many in Norway and elsewhere to conclude that Breivik is mentally deranged, but forensic experts yesterday poured cold water on this popular assessment. Dr Tarjei Rygnestad, the head of Norway's Board of Forensic Medicine, said it was unlikely that Breivik would be declared legally insane because his attacks were so minutely planned and executed. True psychotics could perform only simple tasks, he said, whereas Breivik had carried out an exact plan down to the last detail. "It is not very likely that he was psychotic," Dr Rygnestad said.

Two psychiatrists are assessing Breivik and are due to give their conclusions by 1 November. If he is deemed sane and convicted of the terrorist charges against him, Breivik faces a maximum jail term of 21 years. However, state prosecutors may charge him with crimes against humanity, raising the maximum sentence to 30 years.

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