Share & Connect
The 32-year-old Anders Behring Breivik who took responsibility for the twin attacks in Norway on Friday, appeared in court Monday, admitting to the massacre but denying the terrorism charges.
The charges against him refer to ‘destabilizing vital functions of society, including government, and causing serious fear in the population’, according to the BBC. Breivik had requested to wear a uniform to the hearing but was denied by the court. He had asked for full media presence, but this was also denied as Judge Kim Heger ruled that Breivik might be using the opportunity to signal yet unidentified accomplices.
According to the Norwegian penal code, the crimes of the right-wing extremist can result in up to 21 years of prison, but the Norwegian police is considering charging the attack according to a revised section of the law that refers to crimes against humanity. One of the clauses in the 2008 revision includes the persecution of a group based on their political convictions. This could give Breivik up to 30 years in prison.
So far, Breivik has to remain eight weeks in custody under a letter-, visitation- and media ban. Four of these weeks will be in total isolation. During the hearing, he recognized that he would be spending the rest of his life in prison.
According to Breivik’s lawyer, the 32-year-old does not believe his act was wrong. Breivik also claimed that people would try to shoot him on the way to the hearing and is under the impression that torture is common practice in Norwegian prisons. “He has a different understanding of how it is to be in prison, completely removed from reality,” said his lawyer, Geir Lippestad.
The prosecutor Christian Hatlo, described Breivik’s appearance in court as ‘calm’. “He had a great need to explain why he had done what he did. He was to some extend allowed to do so but once he started to read from his alleged manifest, and that started to drag on, he was interrupted by the judge.”
Breivik had argued that he “was acting to save Norway and Europe from ‘Marxist and Muslim colonisation’” and according to a BBC report, he claimed that his operation was aimed specifically at Norway’s governing Labour Party. He accuses them of failing the country on immigration.
Two psychiatrists have been appointed to assess Breivik’s mental health.