Norwegian bow and arrow suspect taken into care with mental health issues

Norwegian bow and arrow suspect taken into care with mental health issues

The man suspected of killing five people with bows and arrows and other weapons in Norway has been transferred to the public health department, a state prosecutor said, amid lingering concerns about his mental health.

“Based on an assessment of his state of health, this was the best solution,” prosecutor Ann Iren Svane Mathiassen told Norwegian public broadcaster NRK, adding that this decision would not affect a detention decision by the court. due Friday.

“The only difference would be where he would spend his detention, in prison or in care,” Mathiassen said. The prosecution demanded that the man, identified as Danish citizen Espen Andersen Bråthen, be detained for four weeks, the first two in solitary confinement.

Doubts have been cast as to whether Bråthen, 37, who police say was a Muslim convert with multiple convictions for petty and drug offenses and who had previously been reported on suspicion of radicalization, could be held legally responsible for the attack.

A psychiatric evaluation that could last several months began on Thursday. Norwegian security service PST said the attack “currently appears to be an act of terror”, but stressed that only a full investigation can establish Bråthen’s motive.

Espen Andersen Brothers. Photography: AFP / Getty Images

Agency chief Hans Sverre Sjøvold said the suspect, who police say confessed to the murders and is cooperating with the investigation, “has been in and out of the health care system for some time … We must spend some time on this story here, and it’s important that the investigation be clear.

NRK reported that Bråthen had previously been convicted of multiple robbery and drug offenses, and was given a six-month deportation order last year barring him from approaching two of his family. close after threatening to kill one of them.

An anonymous relative dismissed reports of his radicalization as irrelevant, describing Bråthen to the broadcaster as “mentally ill” and adding that the family had been receiving threats for several years.

“This is a seriously mentally ill person who was marginalized from adolescence. It has seriously affected the lives of those close to him, ”said the parent.

Four women and a man aged 50 to 70 were killed and three others, including a policeman on leave, were injured in Wednesday night’s attack in the town of Kongsberg, 66 km southwest of ‘Oslo.

The attacks started in a supermarket and continued over “much” of the city, police said, for about 35 minutes before Bråthen, armed with a competitive bow and arrows and other weapons, including a knife, was reportedly arrested.

Mathiassen said there was no reason to believe the attack was planned in advance, nor anything to indicate that “a particular situation in the supermarket was responsible for their outbreak”.

New Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre, who took office Thursday after winning last month’s elections, is due to visit the city on Friday with Scandinavian Justice Minister Emilie Enger Mehl.

The death toll was the worst of all attacks in Norway since 2011, when far-right extremist Anders Behring Breivik killed 77 people, mostly teenagers, at a youth camp on the island of Utøya.

A memorial service for the victims will take place in the Kongsberg church on Sunday.


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