1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Norwegian mass killer still a danger, psychiatrist says

January 19, 2022

Neo-Nazi Anders Behring Breivik is seeking parole after serving half of a 21-year sentence for a terrorist attack that killed 77 people in 2011. A psychiatrist has said he is still dangerous and "you cannot trust him."

A court in Norway is considering parole for Anders Behring Breivik after serving 10 years in his sentence
A court in Norway is considering parole for Anders Behring Breivik after serving 10 years of his sentenceImage: Ole Berg-Rusten/NTB Norway/AP/dpa/picture alliance

A psychiatrist evaluating convicted mass killer Anders Behring Breivik said on Wednesday that he was still a danger to society, as a Norwegian court evaluated Breivik's parole application.

Breivik is currently serving a 21-year sentence, the maximum jail time in Norway, for setting off a bomb in Oslo's government district and carrying out a shooting at a left-wing youth summer camp on the island of Utoya

He was found guilty of killing 77 people in the attack, which was the worst act of terror in Norway since World War II.

"The risk of future acts of violence has not changed since 2012 and 2013, when I did my first evaluations," psychiatrist Randi Rosenqvist said during the parole hearing, which took place at the high-security prison in Skien, south of Oslo.

Rosenqvist said Breivik still suffered from "asocial, histrionic and narcissistic" personality disorders and entirely lacked empathy.

Prison staff consider him 'a risk'

Breivik attended the proceedings, shaking his head several times and even laughing on occasion as Rosenqvist spoke.

He has argued to the court that he has distanced himself from violence since the attack. Breivik complained to the court that he was treated "like an animal" in the prison and lacked adequate contact with the outside world.

The 42-year-old inhabits three prison cells, with access to a television with a DVD player, a video game console and gym machines.

But experts have said he has only a slim chance of receiving parole. Prison officials testified against him at his parole plea, citing his lack of credible remorse and repeated attempts to spread his far-right ideology.

"The prison believes there is a big risk he would once again commit crimes similar to those for which he was convicted if he were to be released at this stage," said Emily Krokann, legal counsel for the Skien prison.

Breivik still a neo-Nazi

Victims' family members and survivors feared that Breivik would use the parole hearings to spread his ideology.

Breivik proved them right, as he made Nazi salutes and gave a long, rambling speech about white power and National Socialism in his testimony.

He said he would continue his neo-Nazi work if released on parole but promised to do so in a nonviolent manner. 

But, in her testimony, which is considered key to the hearing's outcome, the court-appointed psychiatrist told the judges that Breivik would have "very little chance of functioning" in society if he were to be released.

"He would not live up to his expectations of greatness. He would fall through the cracks in Norwegian society, and that could trigger new plans for aggression," she said.

Rosenqvist also concluded that further psychiatric treatment was unlikely to achieve any change.

jcg/sms (AFP, AP)

Norway - Ten years after the Utoya massacre