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Breivik Unrepentant In Oslo Court

  • RFE/RL

Confessed mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik has made his opening statement in an Oslo court.

Breivik has pleaded not guilty to murder charges and said he killed 77 people in Norway last July in "self-defense."

In his statement, Breivik described the attack as "the most sophisticated and spectacular political attack" in Europe since World War II and said he would do it again.

If convicted and found sane, Breivik faces 21 years in prison, a term that could be extended if he is still deemed dangerous. If found insane, he could be sent for closed psychiatric care indefinitely.

The 33-year-old right-wing extremist, who describes himself as the commander of a Norwegian and pan-European "anticommunist" resistance movement and of an anti-Muslim group he calls the Knights Templar, said Norwegians risked becoming "a minority in their own capital, in their own country, in the future."

Norwegian television is not broadcasting Breivik's court statements due to concerns he will use the trial to propagandize his extremist views. After he had spoken for half an hour, rarely looking up from his prepared statement, the judges asked him to finish.

Breivik has admitted to detonating a car bomb that killed eight people outside a government building in Oslo on July 22, 2011, and then killing another 69 people at a youth summer camp organized by the ruling Labor Party the same day.

He says his main goal is for the court to judge him sane, a ruling he says would vindicate his anti-Muslim, anti-immigration views. He said that being judged insane would be "a fate worse than death" and that "prison does not scare me."

Judge Dismissed Over Impartiality Concerns

Earlier on April 17, the Oslo court dismissed one of the trial's three lay judges following a defense motion over a comment posted on Facebook urging the death penalty in the case.

Judge Thomas Indreboe posted a comment on the day after the massacre saying, "The death penalty is the only fair outcome in this case." Norway does not have the death penalty.

"According to the section of the court act, nobody can be a judge or juror when such particular circumstances exist that may weaken the trust in the [court's] impartiality," Judge Wenche Elizabeth Arntzen said in announcing the decision in court.

"Co-Judge Indreboe has expressed on the Internet that the defendant should be given a death penalty. It is understandable that the events of July 22 affected many people and that was expressed in many ways," she continued.

"Indreboe's statement came before he was appointed a lay judge, but his statements may weaken the trust in his impartiality."

Indreboe was replaced by one of the two substitute judges. The case is being heard by two professional judges and three lay judges and is expected to last about a week.

Breivik's defense team has called 29 witnesses, including Mullah Krekar, a Kurd who founded the Ansar al-Islam Islamist group and who was recently jailed in Norway for making death threats, and a right-wing blogger named "Fjordman" who influenced Breivik's ideas.

With reporting by AFP, Reuters, and AP

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