OSLO, Norway — Confessed mass killer Anders Behring Breivik belongs in psychiatric care instead of prison, Norwegian prosecutors said Tuesday after a mental evaluation declared him legally insane during a bomb-and-shooting rampage that killed 77 people.
The court-ordered assessment found that the self-styled anti-Muslim militant was psychotic during the July 22 attacks, which would make him mentally unfit to be convicted and imprisoned.
The report, written by two psychiatrists who spent 36 hours talking to Breivik, will be reviewed by an expert panel before the Oslo district court rules on his mental state.
The conclusions surprised many outside experts and contrasted with earlier comments by the head of the review panel, who told the Associated Press in July that it was unlikely that Breivik would be declared insane because the attacks were so carefully planned and executed.
But prosecutors insisted the psychiatric report describes a man living in a "delusional universe" — a paranoid schizophrenic who's lost touch with reality.
"After having read the documents of the case, the conclusion did not come as a surprise," prosecutor Svein Holden said.
Breivik, 32, has confessed to setting off a bomb that ripped through Oslo's government district, killing eight people, then opening fire at the summer camp of the governing Labor Party's youth wing. Sixty-nine people died in the mayhem at the Utoya island camp outside the Norwegian capital of Oslo before Breivik surrendered to a SWAT team.
He denies criminal guilt, saying he's a commander of a resistance movement aiming to overthrow European governments and replace them with "patriotic" regimes that will deport Muslim immigrants.
Prosecutor Inga Bejer Engh said if the courts declare Breivik insane, he would be given three-year terms of psychiatric care that can be extended for as long as necessary.