Norway Suspect Arraigned In Closed Hearing
Monday, July 25, 2011
The man who confessed to the twin attacks that killed more than 90 people in Norway was arraigned in court Monday, and a judge ordered the suspect tol be held in isolation for four weeks.
Anders Behring Breivik pleaded not guilty to one of the deadliest modern mass killings in peacetime, saying he wanted to save Europe and send a strong signal, not to kill as many as possible, Judge Kim Heger said after a closed court hearing.
In an extraordinary measure, the judge decided Monday to hold the arraignment behind closed doors.
It's clear from a manifesto Breivik published online to describe the planning and motivation of the attacks that he's looking for a platform for air his belief that Europe must be saved from Muslim colonization; he has said that the killings themselves were "marketing" for the manifesto.
His lawyer, Geir Lippestad, told Norwegian broadcaster NRK that Breivik had requested to appear in uniform during the hearing, but didn't know what kind. In the document, Breivik describes how he would turn the court appearance into theater.
Heger made the decision to close the hearing on a request from police. "It is clear that there is concrete information that a public hearing with the suspect present could quickly lead to an extraordinary and very difficult situation in terms of the investigation and security," the court said in a statement.
Prosecutors have asked that the 32-year-old suspect be held for eight weeks, said Oslo District Court spokeswoman Irene Ramm.
Breivik has confessed he was behind the bombing in downtown Oslo and shooting massacre at a youth camp outside the capital, but denies criminal responsibility. In his manifesto and comments to his lawyer, he has said he wanted to start a revolution to inspire Norwegians to retake their country from Muslims and other immigrants. He blames liberals for championing multiculturalism over Norway's "indigenous" culture.
Typically, the accused is brought to court every four weeks while prosecutors prepare their case, so a judge can approve his continued detention. In cases of serious crimes or where the defendant has admitted to the charges, longer periods of detention are not unusual.
Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg led the reeling nation in a minute of silence on Monday, standing on the steps of an Oslo university next to a flame. The king and queen stood by as well, and neighboring countries Denmark and Sweden also joined in the remembrance.
Signs of normalcy began to return to Oslo on Monday. A wide police cordon around the bomb site was lifted on the first workday since the attacks, leaving just a narrower zone closed off. Most shops were open and trams were rumbling through the city's streets.
But the flag on the courthouse where Breivik will appear remained at half staff, and the world's media was buzzing around the building.
Princess's Stepbrother Among The Dead
The search for more victims continues and police have not released the names of the dead. But Norway's royal court said Monday that those killed at the island retreat included Crown Princess Mette-Marit's stepbrother, an off-duty police officer, who was working there as a security guard.
Court spokeswoman Marianne Hagen told The Associated Press that his name was Trond Berntsen, the son of Mette-Marit's stepfather, who died in 2008.
Meanwhile, French police were searching the suspect's father's home Monday. About a dozen officers surrounded the house in Couranel in southern France, entering and leaving at irregular intervals. The house is cordoned off, and reporters do not have access.
The regional gendarme service confirmed the house was that of Anders Behring Breivik's father but would not comment on the search operation. News reports have said Breivik's father, Jens Breivik, has not been in touch with his son in many years.
The attacks rattled Norway, a small and wealthy country unused to political violence, and known internationally as a peace mediator, prominent foreign aid donor and as home of the Nobel Peace Prize. Survivors of the camp shooting on the Utoya island described how a gunman dressed in a police uniform urged people to come closer and then opened fire, sending panicked youth fleeing into the water.
Police say 86 people were killed. About 90 minutes earlier, a car bomb exploded in the government district in central Oslo, killing seven.
More than 90 people were wounded, and others remain missing at both crime scenes.
Dr. Colin Poole, head of surgery at Ringriket Hospital in Honefoss northwest of Oslo, told The Associated Press that the gunman used special bullets designed to disintegrate inside the body and cause maximum internal damage. Poole said surgeons treating 16 gunshot victims have recovered no full bullets.
"These bullets more or less exploded inside the body," Poole said. "It's caused us all kinds of extra problems in dealing with the wounds they cause, with very strange trajectories."
Ballistics experts say "dum-dum"-style bullets also are lighter in weight and can be fired with greater accuracy over varying distances.
Breivik laid out his extreme nationalist philosophy as well as his attack methods in a 1,500-page manifesto. It also describes how he bought armor, guns, tons of fertilizer and other bomb components, stashed caches of weapons and wiping his computer hard drive all while evading police suspicion and being nice to his neighbors.
Police are poring over the document, which they said was posted the day of the attack. It rants against Muslim immigration to Europe and vows revenge on "indigenous Europeans," whom Breivik accused of betraying their heritage. It adds that they would be punished for their "treasonous acts."
"The calculated cynicism in it is really staggering," Goran Skaalmo, an investigative reporter in Norway, told NPR's Linda Wertheimer. "He calls the operation in Oslo the 'ultimate love gift' at one time. He says in the foreword that to put this whole work together has cost him 370,000 euros. Also, he sees himself as a European hero."
European security officials said Sunday they were aware of increased Internet chatter from individuals claiming they belonged to the Knights Templar, a group that Breivik refers to in the manifesto. They said they were still investigating claims that Breivik, and other far-right individuals, attended a London meeting of the group in 2002. The two officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak about the investigation.
As authorities pursued the suspect's motives, Oslo mourned the victims Sunday. Norway's King Harald V and his wife Queen Sonja and Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg crowded into Oslo Cathedral, where the pews were packed, and people spilled into the plaza outside the building. The king and queen both wiped tears from their eyes during the service for "sorrow and hope."
Reporter Teri Schultz called the service "very emotional."
"The ceremony was called 'the Mass of sadness and hope,' and people were trying to speak of hope ... but the scene was mostly one of sadness today," she told NPR's Wertheimer. After the service, people sobbed and hugged one another in the streets, as many lingered over the memorial of flowers and candles.
Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.