Massacre suspect defiant as trial begins
The right-wing fanatic who confessed killing 77 people in a bomb-and-shooting massacre went on trial in Norway’s capital Monday, defiantly rejecting the authority of the court.
Anders Behring Breivik, dressed in a dark suit, smiled as a guard removed his handcuffs in the crowded court room. The 33-year-old then flashed a closed-fist salute before shaking hands with prosecutors and court officials.
“I don’t recognize Norwegian courts because you get your mandate from the Norwegian political parties who support multiculturalism,” Breivik said in his first comments to the court.
Breivik also said he doesn’t recognize the authority of Judge Wenche Elisabeth Arntzen because he said she is friends with the sister of former Norwegian Prime Minister and Labor Party leader Gro Harlem Brundtland.
The anti-Muslim militant described himself as a writer, currently working from prison, when asked by the judge for his employment status.
After opening statements Monday, Breivik is set to testify for five days, explaining why he set off a bomb in downtown Oslo, killing eight, and then shot to death 69 people, mostly teenagers, at a Labor Party youth camp on Utoya island, outside the Norwegian capital.
Breivik has admitted the attacks, claiming they were necessary to protect Norway from being taken over by Muslims, but he has rejected criminal guilt. He claims he targeted the government headquarters in Oslo and the youth camp to strike against the left-leaning political forces he blames for allowing immigration in Norway.
Breivik remained stone-faced and motionless as prosecutor Inga Bejer Engh read his indictment on terror and premeditated-murder charges, including descriptions of how each victim died.
The key issue to be resolved during the 10-week trial is the state of Breivik’s mental health, which will decide whether he is sent to prison or to psychiatric care.