Thursday 23 November 2017

I deserve a medal of honour and should be set free, says man who killed 77 people

Norwegian Anders Breivik, who killed 77 people, arrives at a court hearing in Oslo yesterday
Norwegian Anders Breivik, who killed 77 people, arrives at a court hearing in Oslo yesterday

Bjoern H Amland in Oslo

BRASH and unrepentant mass killer Anders Breivik told a court yesterday that he deserved a medal of honour for the murder of 77 people and demanded to be set free.

Breivik, who has been declared criminally insane, smirked as he was led in to Oslo district court, handcuffed and dressed in a dark suit, for his last scheduled detention hearing before his trial starts in April.

He stretched out his arms in what his lawyer Geir Lippestad said was "some kind of right-wing extremist greeting"

Reading from prepared remarks, the 32-year-old Norwegian told the court that the July 22 massacre -- carried out with a bomb, a rifle and a handgun -- was a strike against "traitors" he said were embracing immigration to promote "an Islamic colonisation of Norway".


Like in previous hearings, Breivik admitted to setting off the bomb outside the government headquarters in Oslo and opening fire at a Labour Party youth camp on Utoya island, outside the capital. But he again denied criminal responsibility for the deaths and rejected the authority of the court.

Around 100 survivors and victims' relatives watched in disbelief as Breivik asked to be released and then told the judge he should receive a military honour for the attacks. Many survivors had expressed concern that Breivik would use court hearings to draw attention to his extremist views.

"It wasn't good that he got to say what he wanted to say," said Amel Baltic, a 16-year-old survivor of the Utoya massacre. "It made me irritated."

Throughout the hearing survivors wept and ridiculed the smiling attacker as he defended his murderous spree. "The way he talked, the way he smiled ... everything made me realise that no one has the same picture of the world as he does," said Helene Georgsen (17), who survived Breivik's massacre.

"What a clown," said courtroom spectator Freddy Lie (52), who had one daughter killed and another injured at the summer camp. "The only thing he lacked was a red nose."

Judge Wenche Gjelsten ordered Breivik to remain in custody until the trial begins on April 16. Breivik faces terror charges that carry up to 21 years in prison, but if he is deemed to be gravely mentally ill he will be sent to psychiatric care.

A psychiatric evaluation found Breivik criminally insane, but a second evaluation was ordered amid criticism of that diagnosis. Breivik has refused to cooperate with psychiatrists in the second review.

Unlike the only previous public hearing, Breivik this time agreed to let himself be photographed before the proceedings began. Mr Lippestad, the defence lawyer, suggested Breivik's remarks yesterday foreshadowed what is to come in his trial.

"Much of this case is about his personality," Mr Lippestad said.

Breivik claims he's a commander of a militant organisation aiming to overthrow European governments and replace them with "patriotic" regimes that would deport Muslim immigrants.

In a 1,500-page manifesto posted online just before the attacks, Breivik described this supposed network as a modern-day version of the "Knights Templar" order of medieval crusaders. The document contained details on initiation rites, oaths and a "clenched fist salute" symbolising "strength, honour and defiance against the Marxist tyrants of Europe".

Police have not found any trace of the group and say Breivik carried out the attacks on his own.

Since investigations began, about 1,500 people have been questioned, including survivors, police said yesterday.

Law enforcement agencies in other countries have also assisted, including in the US, where authorities interviewed Breivik's sister in Los Angeles.

Police prosecutor Christian Hatlo told reporters that a request for further assistance was recently sent to the US Department of Justice. He said investigators were looking for information on Breivik's "travels and financing".

Irish Independent

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