Man aims shoe at Breivik, marking first outburst in surprisingly calm trial (+video)
The brother of one of Anders Behring Breivik's victims launched a shoe at the confessed killer on a day that was already tense because of a controversial legal proposal.
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“The proposal applies only to the level of security,” she added. “It does not change the law in terms of whether or how long a convicted person should undergo compulsory mental health care.”Skip to next paragraph
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'more like a prison'
Critics complain that the law, which was scripted shortly after the July 22 attack, has been rushed through as a solution tailored for one person, with just a three-week hearing period. The Norwegian Bar Association says that “judicial rights have been pushed aside.”
“The proposal will reduce the rights to those that are sent to compulsory mental health care substantially,” says Kristian Andenæs, a professor of criminology and sociology at the University of Oslo. “It's obvious that the proposal will make the mental health system more like a prison.” In its comments sent to the health ministry on March 12, the Norwegian Bar Association said, “The proposed law comes across as little thought through. Relationship to human rights has been little addressed.”
The Norwegian Psychologists’ Association separately expressed concern in its hearing comments, submitted in March, that the rights to psychological help could be pushed aside if someone is considered more dangerous. The proposed amendment has also sparked reaction among some opposition party politicians, including the Liberal and Conservative parties.
The health ministry's Ms. Strøm-Erichsen said she recognized the disadvantages of a short consultation period, but that “the security concerns and the population's need of feeling safe must take priority.”
The proposed amendments to the mental health care law mark the first major legal change since the country suffered its worst peacetime atrocity. On July 22, Breivik placed a car bomb outside Oslo government buildings, killing eight, before going on the shooting spree on Utøya.
It also comes during a week of heightened confrontation in court.
On May 9, Breivik started commenting directly to Utøya victims, who began testimony this week. He asked to directly address Tonje Brenna, Labor Party youth secretary general, after she accused him of yelling “woo hoo” while shooting his victims. Yesterday was marked by an unexpected police escort for Muhammed Abdulrahman Muhammed, one of the witnesses from the Utøya attack, who reportedly received a specific threat against him via Norwegian newspaper VG.
The terror trial will continue next week with more testimony from Utøya victims. The case is focused on determining Breivik’s sanity, which will determine whether he receives a prison sentence of a maximum of 21 years or is sent to a mental health asylum. One forensic psychiatric report has deemed him paranoid schizophrenic and hence not punishable, while a second found no signs of psychosis. The judges are scheduled to rule on his sanity shortly after the trial ends on June 22.