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Author(s) Jacobsen, Colin
Maier-Katkin, Daniel
Year 2015
Title Breivik’s Sanity: Terrorism, Mass Murder, and the Insanity Defense
Published in Human Rights Quarterly, Vol. 37, No. 1
Pages 137–152
DOI 10.1353/hrq.2015.0011
Abstract Anders Breivik is the right wing terrorist who planted bombs in central Oslo then traveled twenty-five miles to Utoya Island, where he murdered, maimed, and wounded more than 100 people—the children of left-leaning politicians and public officials—at a summer camp associated with the ruling Labor Party. Breivik maintained that the killings were an act of asymmetrical warfare aimed at alerting fellow citizens to the impending Islamization of Norway and beginning a revolution against the “traitorous” liberals who were permitting or encouraging immigration from Muslim countries. Breivik surrendered to authorities at the site of the mass murder, and whether he committed the shooting, killing, and bombing was never in controversy; the only issue at trial was Breivik’s sanity. Psychiatric experts disagreed, leaving the District Court in Oslo with the challenge of determining whether acts rationally related to extreme rightwing political values and beliefs, in a culture with longstanding and deeply rooted right-wing traditions, satisfy the legal understanding of what it means to be deemed not guilty by virtue of insanity.
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