Agence France-Presse

Anders Behring Breivik like Hannibal Lecter, says psychologist

Rightwing extremist Anders Behring Breivik, who killed 77 people in twin attacks in Norway last year, looks on at the opening of his trial in Oslo district courtroom on April 16, 2012.



A psychologist testified at Norway mass killer Anders Behring Breivik's trial on Monday, comparing him to Hannibal Lecter, according to Agence France Presse.

The psychologist, Eirik Johannesen, said, "Meeting Breivik was almost like meeting Hannibal," comparing him to the cannibal in "Silence of the Lambs."

Johannesen spent 26 hours interviewing Breivik in prison and was called upon by Breivik's defense team to testify that he was not crazy when he went on a violent rampage in Norway last year that claimed the lives of 77 people, reported AFP.

Johannesen said that Breivik himself did not believe in the Knights Templar or the anti-Islamic brotherhood which he claims allegiance with, but used the connections to put forward his own views. "I think it is to make it seem more large and meaningful," Johannesen said.

He added, "He wants to recruit people into a network, and it is not easy if he is alone. So it helps to create fear, and he wants those he sees as enemies to live in fear," according to The Telegraph.

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Breivik has admitted to killing eight people in Oslo with a bomb and another 69 in a shooting spree on Utoya island. He claimed his actions were to defend Norway from other cultures.

Johannesen said he did not believe Breivik suffered from Asperger's syndrome.

On Friday, a top expert, Ulrik Frederick Malt, suggested that Breivik was suffering from developmental and neuropsychiatric disorders such Asperger's, Tourette's and delusions, according to Reuters. Malt's findings are in contrast to another team of experts who concluded that Breivik was a paranoid schizophrenic.

Malt based his findings on Breivik's loneliness, depression, delusions of grandeur and indifference. Breivik, once he was allowed to speak, said, "I want to congratulate Malt on a well-executed character assassination. In the beginning I was quite offended, but eventually I think it was pretty funny."

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Johannesen said on Monday, "In light of his ideology, I don't think that he can be treated with therapy or with medicine," saying that Breivik's behavior was based on extremism, not mental illness.

A senior psychiatry professor, Einar Kringlen, who reversed his opinion on Breivik's sanity, said, "Evil cannot always be explained by illness," according to AFP.

Breivik himself wants to be declared sane.

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