On July 22, eight people were killed in a bombing of the Oslo government district and an addition sixty-nine in a shooting massacre at a left-leaning Labor Party’s youth camp on an island outside of the capital. The main suspect, Anders Behring Breivik, admitted to the bomb-and-shooting massacre that occurred last summer, yet he is pleading not guilty to criminal charges. Breivik is claiming that he was acting in self-defense, even if he was not in immediate danger.
Breivik has said that the attacks were necessary in order to prevent Norway from being taken over by Muslims. “I admit to the acts, but not criminal guilt,” he told the court, insisting he had acted in self-defense.
The trial is slated to last for ten weeks, and the main issue is the state of Breivik’s mental health. This will determine whether he is sent to prison or placed under a physiatrist’s care. Breivik has already been evaluated by two separate psychiatrists, who claim that he is sane.
Despite the fact that others in Breivik’s situation would want the state to believe they were insane, Breivik wants them to know that he is mentally healthy. He plans to call right-wing extremists and radical Islamists to testify during the trial, to show that others share his beliefs of clashing civilizations.
He will call them to support “his perception that there is a war going on in Europe,” his defense lawyer, Geir Lippestad, told the court. Lippestad said Breivik wants to read a new document he has written at the start of his testimony on Tuesday.
Norway’s NRK television has been broadcasting parts of the trial live; however they were not allowed to show Breivik’s testimony. During the opening session, he remained emotionless when the charges of terror and murder were read, and when the court read how he planned for the multiple attacks. When the prosecution showed an anti-Muslim video that he posted on YouTube however, he got emotional and was seen wiping away tears with trembling hands.
When asked by the court of his employment status, Breivik described himself as a writer currently working from prison. 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.
In the courtroom, thick glass partitions were put up to protect the victims and their families, who believe that Breivik will use the trial to promote his radical ideals. This is due to a manifesto he published online before the attacks, in which Breivik wrote that “patriotic resistance fighters” should use trials “as a platform to further our cause.”
If Breivik is deemed to be mentally competent, he faces a maximum prison sentence of 21 years, or an alternate custody arrangement under which the sentenced will be prolonged until Breivik is no longer seen as a danger to society. It is clear that the laws in Norway are different from the United States, because if Breivik were to have committed these heinous acts here, he would probably be facing death penalty charges, instead of a maximum of 21 years.Tweet