News / Europe

Lawyer says Norway Gunman Appears 'Insane'

Geir Lippestad, center, the defense lawyer for Anders Behring Breivik, talks with reporters during a press conference in Oslo, Norway. Lippestad said his client's case suggests he is insane, July 26, 2011
Geir Lippestad, center, the defense lawyer for Anders Behring Breivik, talks with reporters during a press conference in Oslo, Norway. Lippestad said his client's case suggests he is insane, July 26, 2011

The lawyer of a man charged with killing at least 76 people in Norway says his client appears to be insane.

Case indicates client insane

Defense lawyer Geir Lippestad said the case indicates his client Anders Behring Breivik is insane.  But he said it is too early to say whether Breivik will plead insanity at trial.

He said Breivik talks a lot about a manifesto that he wrote outlining his beliefs.

"He hates all the Western ideas, and anyone in the West who believes in democracy and believes in the values of democracy, he hates," Lippestad said.

Gunman admitted attacks

Breivik has admitted responsibility for exploding a car bomb Friday in downtown Oslo before travelling to a nearby island where he shot dozens of people, killing a total of 76 people.

It took Norwegian SWAT police over an hour to arrive at the shooting scene after local police first received an alert about the attack.  Breivik surrendered without a fight.

Lippestad says his client was surprised to have been able to carry out his attack for so long. "He suspected that he would be stopped earlier by the police or someone else," he stated.

Lippestad said Breivik has reported being part of an anti-Islam network that has two cells in Norway and more abroad, a claim some officials doubt.  

But views Breivik allegedly posted online attack multi-culturalism in Europe and are virulently anti-Islam.  

London-based expert on Europe’s far-right movement, K. Biswas, is a contributing editor at the New Internationalist who says Breivik’s views are not dissimilar from others on the far right.  “A growing anti-establishment sentiment and increasing Islamophobia has seen anti-immigrant populist political parties increase their influence,” Biswas noted.

Tough stance on immigration

In Norway, the second-largest party in parliament is the tough on immigration Progress Party.

Biswas says across Europe far-right politicians have been brought into the mainstream political fold in recent years.

"In Austria, Italy, and Holland you have seen parties outside the mainstream grow in influence and actually become part of a governing coalition, in effect legitimizing a lot of views that were felt to be abhorrent over 10 years ago," Biswas stated.

Police say they are still searching for missing people.  They said they would begin naming the dead late Tuesday.  Norwegian media has already named some of those killed on the island.  The youngest was 14.  

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