Norway orders forced psychiatric probe of shooting suspect

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A Norwegian court on Wednesday decided that a suspect behind a shooting in Oslo that left two dead and 21 wounded would be admitted to a psychiatric hospital for evaluation.

“The court believes that an investigation in an institution is necessary to assess the accused’s state of mind,” the Oslo district court said in its ruling.

Zaniar Matapour, who was arrested quickly after the shooting started around 1:00 am on June 25 in central Oslo, had not consented to a preliminary psychiatric evaluation, but the court order means experts will now evaluate the state of his mental health.

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The 43-year-old is accused of killing two men, aged 54 and 60, and wounding 21 other people when he opened fire near a bar in central Oslo in the early hours of Saturday morning.

For up to eight weeks, experts will evaluate his mental health, at the Haukeland University Hospital in western Norway, but this time period can also be extended.

In its decision the court noted that the suspect “had previously been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia.”

Norway’s domestic intelligence service has previously described the attack as “an act of Islamist terrorism” and said Matapour had “difficulties with his mental health.”

He is being investigated for “terrorist acts,” murder and attempted murder.

Matapour, a Norwegian of Iranian origin, had been known to Norway’s PST intelligence service since 2015, with concerns about his radicalization and membership of “an extremist Islamist network.”

Matapour, who arrived in Norway as a child, is now a father living on social benefits according to Norwegian media.
He has been convicted previously for relatively minor offences.

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