Monday 19 March 2018

Others will follow in my footsteps, Breivik warns as he demands acquittal

Anders Behring Breivik in an Oslo court yesterday, the last day of evidence in his trial for the murder of 77 people.
Anders Behring Breivik in an Oslo court yesterday, the last day of evidence in his trial for the murder of 77 people.

Richard Orange in Malmo

ANDERS Behring Breivik has demanded an acquittal for his terror attacks, arguing that he was acting to protect Norwegians.

On the last day of evidence, he said he had been acting "in defence of my ethnic group" when he bombed government buildings in Oslo, before shooting young Labour supporters at an island camp.

And he warned that others would follow in his footsteps.

"My brothers in the Norwegian and European resistance movements are sitting and watching this case while they plan new attacks," he said.

"I cannot acknowledge guilt. I acted on behalf of my people, my religion and my country. I therefore demand that I be acquitted," he told the court.

More than 30 relatives of victims stood up and walked out of the courtroom when Breivik began to speak, ending a 10-week trial in which the Nordic nation has tried to come to terms with the worst atrocity in its post-war history.

"He has a right to talk. We have no duty to listen," said Christian Bjelland, the vice-chairman of the support group for survivors of the July 22 attacks and victims' families.

The court applauded Kirsti Lovlie, as she spoke of life without her daughter Hanne, who was among Breivik's 77 victims. Judge Wenche Elizabeth Arntzen wiped away tears.

"This man will no longer scare me," said Ms Lovlie.

"He will never come out. I do not waste much time and effort on this man and I think I will live well with what has happened here."

Lara Rashid described how moved she had been by the public support at the funeral of her elder sister Bano, who was also killed on the island.


"Bano did not die in vain. She died for the multicultural Norway," she said. "The funeral gave me motivation. The multi-cultural Norway that I'm so proud of, it showed me that he failed."

Breivik admits killing eight people when he detonated a bomb and a further 69 when he opened fire on Utoya island.

His lawyer, Geir Lippestad, had argued that Breivik had a "human right" to be jailed in conventional prison for the attacks, which Breivik has admitted carrying out while denying criminal guilt.

The prosecution has recommended that the killer should be detained and treated in a psychiatric hospital.

"If we look at basic human rights and take into account that the defendant has a political project, to see his actions as an expression of illness is to take away a basic human right, the right to take responsibility for his own actions," Mr Lippestad said.

He dismissed the first team of psychiatrists, who had said that Breivik's belief that he had the "right to decide who should live and die" was evidence of schizophrenia.

"He realised that it is wrong to kill, but he chose to kill. That's what terrorists do," Mr Lippestad said.

Breivik railed against the psychiatrists because he did not want his anti-Islamic ideology to be written off as the rantings of a madman.

His sanity has been the key question for the court. The first psychiatric report diagnosed the killer as a paranoid schizophrenic; the second said he was sane enough to face jail.

If the court decides that he is sane, he faces 21 years in jail, the maximum sentence for terror crimes. Prosecutors have hinted that he would be released from a psychiatric unit, though his case would have to be reviewed every three years.

The panel of five judges will make its final ruling on August 24. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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