Norway killer to be detained in medical facility amid mental health concerns

Espen Andersen Brathen

The man who admitted killing five people in an attack in Norway is to be detained in a medical facility as questions mount about his mental health.

Espen Andersen Brathen, a Danish citizen who converted to Islam and was known to police, will be held for an initial period of four weeks, judge Ann Mikalsen ruled on Friday.

A full psychiatric evaluation is necessary to determine whether Brathen can be held legally responsible for his actions.

“This indicates that things are not exactly as they should be,” his lawyer, Fredrik Neumann said referring to his client’s mental health. “A complete judicial assessment will clarify that,” he told Norwegian daily VG.

The head of Norway’s intelligence service PST, Hans Sverre Sjovold, told a news conference on Thursday: “There is no doubt that (it) appears as if it could be an act of terror, but it’s important that the investigation continues and that we establish the motive of the suspect. This is a person who has been in and out of the health system for some time.”

Four women and one man were killed and three people injured in Wednesday night’s attack. Police said a bow and arrow and other undisclosed weapons were used before he was arrested.

“He has told us why he did it but we can’t say anything publicly about his motives at this stage,” prosecutor Ann Iren Svane Mathiassen told AFP on Thursday.

Norwegian media reported that Brathen was subject to two prior court rulings, including a restraining order against him regarding his parents after threatening to kill his father, and a conviction for burglary and purchasing narcotics in 2012.

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