By Victoria Klesty
OSLO (Reuters) - Confessed mass-murderer Anders Behring Breivik should be declared sane and allowed to take responsibility for his actions, his lawyer told a Norwegian court on Friday, rebutting the prosecution request for him to be ruled criminally insane.
Breivik has confessed to killing 77 people in a shooting and bombing rampage last July. If judged to be insane, he would likely be committed to a mental institution instead of a prison.
"Breivik wishes to be punished for his actions - that is, to be treated as criminally sane by the court," Defense counsel Geir Lippestad said.
"If we look at the basic human rights and take into account that the defendant has a political project - to see his actions as an expression of illness is to take away a basic human right, the right to take responsibility for one's own actions," Lippestad said.
In Norway's worst peacetime massacre, Breivik on July 22 first detonated a bomb outside government headquarters in Oslo, killing eight people, then systematically gunned down 69 people, many of them teenagers, at a summer camp run by the ruling Labor Party on the island of Utoeya.
Confronted by conflicting psychiatric reports, prosecutors on Thursday said that although they could not be completely sure that Breivik was not responsible for his actions, he should be declared insane and committed to a mental institution.
A first psychiatric report found him to be a psychotic paranoid schizophrenic. A second, by a different team, concluded that he was most likely suffering from a narcissistic personality disorder but was not psychotic, and was therefore legally sane.
The defense supports the second of the two reports, saying Breivik's acts were motivated by right-wing extremist political zeal and not, as the first report claims, fantasies of violence.
To support his view, Lippestad said Breivik spared some people on Utoeya whom he did not see as politically active. He also chose to go to the Labor-run camp rather than to gun down people on the streets of Oslo.
The defense also said that everybody who had been in close contact with Breivik since July 22, from police to psychiatrists, have described him as a calm and well-behaved.
"There have been no signs of violence in these relations," Lippestad said. "It has not been violence that has been the driver in his life."
(Reporting by Victoria Klesty; Editing by Angus MacSwan)
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