Far-right leaders defend Breivik's views in court
A handful of Norwegian right-wing extremists testified yesterday in self-confessed killer Anders Behring Breivik's defence, backing his ideological claims that Norway is "at war" with Islam.
The 33-year-old self-styled anti-Muslim crusader has placed great importance on this line of argument, fearing that his ideology could be undermined if he is declared insane.
Breivik, who is on trial for killing 77 people in a bomb-and-shooting rampage in Oslo last July, has confessed to the attacks but denies criminal guilt. He claims that he acted in self-defence because his victims had betrayed their country by embracing immigration.
Defence lawyers attempted to show that while there are people who share Breivik's views, they are not declared mentally ill for doing so.
"Norway is at war," Tore Tvedt, a far-right extremist who has been convicted for his published anti-Semitic statements, told the court.
Although many of the witnesses echoed Breivik's political views during the hearing, all of them took care to distance themselves from the violent actions for which he is on trial.
"We are a non-violent organisation," said Arne Tumyr, leader of 'Stop the Islamisation of Norway'. But he declared that "Islam is an evil political ideology disguised as a religion".
Another witness, Ronny Alte, said that although he knows of no one in his immediate surroundings who supported Breivik's actions, "there could easily be around a hundred that I know about" on the internet who do.