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Lawyer: Norway suspect is likely insane

A man lights a candle near Utoya island on Tuesday in memory of the eight people killed in Friday’s blast in Oslo and the 68 who died in the shooting at the youth camp on Utoya.

Associated Press

A man lights a candle near Utoya island on Tuesday in memory of the eight people killed in Friday’s blast in Oslo and the 68 who died in the shooting at the youth camp on Utoya.

OSLO, Norway — The suspect in the bombing and mass shooting that killed 76 people in Norway sees himself as "some kind of savior" and is likely insane, his attorney said Tuesday, though the lawyer said he did not know if he would use an insanity defense.

Geir Lippestad told the Associated Press that his client, Anders Behring Breivik, 32, is unaware of the impact of the attacks and asked him how many people he had killed. Lippestad said he did not answer the question.

In a separate interview, Breivik's former stepmother said she had never seen any violent or anti-Muslim behavior from him. Tove Oevermo said Breivik often talked about quitting work to write a book — without revealing that it was a 1,500-page anti-immigrant manifesto justifying Friday's attacks.

Breivik has confessed to the bombing at government headquarters in Oslo and a shooting rampage at an island retreat, but has pleaded not guilty to the terrorism charges he faces. Breivik says he acted to save Europe from what he calls Muslim colonization.

"His reason (for the attacks) is that he wants to start a war against democracy, against the Muslims in the world, and as he said he wants to liberate Europe and the Western world," said Lippestad, a public defender who was handpicked by Breivik.

Asked how his client sees himself, Lippestad said: "As a savior. Some kind of savior."

Two psychiatric experts will evaluate Breivik to determine if he is mentally ill, said Lippestad, adding that it's too early to say whether that will be his defense. "This whole case has indicated that he's insane," he said.

Oevermo, who kept in occasional touch with Breivik despite divorcing his father when Breivik was a teenager, said he was "just an ordinary Norwegian, a well-behaved boy."

"You can't put all of this together really. I saw no sign of him being a person like he must have been," said Oevermo, a retired career diplomat.

Oevermo said she last saw Breivik in March or April, when he visited her at her home south of Oslo. She said he didn't seem agitated during the visit and behaved normally.

He left saying, " 'See you again soon,' or something like that, something very normal," she said.

Eight people were killed in Friday's bombing in Oslo. Later that day, 68 people were killed at the island retreat for the youth wing of the ruling Labor Party.

Though Breivik has been charged with acts of terrorism, Lippestad told the AP he could also be charged with crimes against humanity. He said his client would never be set free.

While 21 years is the stiffest sentence a Norwegian judge can hand down, a special sentence can be given to prisoners deemed a danger to society, who are locked up for 20-year sentences that can be renewed indefinitely.

Lawyer: Norway suspect is likely insane 07/26/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, July 26, 2011 11:16pm]
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