Anders Breivik tells Norwegian court: 'I would do it again'

 

The right wing extremist who killed 77 people in a gun and bomb rampage in Norway last year today called his attack "spectacular", and claimed he would do it all again if he could.

Reading to the court from a pre-prepared statement, 33-year-old Anders Behring Breivik criticised Norway's government, and other governments around Europe, for embracing immigration and multiculturalism.

Breivik called himself a commander in an anti communist, anti-Islamic militant resistance movement called the Knights Templar; a group prosecutors and the police say does not exist.

He described his actions as being necessary to avoid a Europe-wide civil war between "nationalists and internationalists", and said they came out of "goodness, not evil".

Breivik praised suspects in other European right-wing extremist attacks, including Peter Mangs - a Swede suspected of numerous immigrant shootings in 2010, and Uwe Boehnhardt, Uwe Mundlos and Beate Zschaepe, who are suspected of killing eight people of Turkish origin, a Greek man and a policewoman in Germany between 2000 and 2007.

Breivik's testimony was delayed after lay judge Thomas Indreboe, one of five judges hearing the case, was dismissed for messages he posted online the day after the attacks.

Lawyers for both the prosecution and defence requested Indreboe be removed from the trial, saying Facebook posts in which he called for Breivik to receive the death penalty - a punishment not in use in Norway - violated his impartiality.

Breivik gave a closed fist salute as he entered the purpose-built courtroom, the same salute he gave on the opening day of his trial yesterday.

As Breivik read his statement, essentially a summary of the 1,500-page manifesto he posted online before the massacre, Judge Wenche Elisabeth Arntzen repeatedly asked him to finish.

Breivik replied, "It is critically important that I explain the reason and the motive".

When a lawyer representing victims' families also interrupted him, saying they were concerned he was using the trial as a platform to air extremist views, Breivik said if he wasn't allowed to continue, he might not speak at all.

Breivik has admitted killing 69 people in a mass shooting at a Labor Party organised youth camp on Utoya Island, 25 miles outside Oslo, as well as killing eight others in a car bombing in the Norwegian capital's government district, but denies criminal guilt, saying he was acting in self-defence.

"The attacks on July 22 were a preventive strike. I acted in self-defence on behalf of my people, my city, my country," Breivik said as he finished his statement. "I therefore demand to be found innocent."

Even Breivik's lawyers concede his defence is unlikely to succeed and are instead focusing their attention on the key issue of Breivik's mental health.

While he faces spending the rest of his life behind bars, Breivik is fighting to prove his sanity, saying being labeled insane would be a "fate worse than death".

If deemed mentally competent Breivik would face a maximum prison sentence of 21 years, but he could be held indefinitely if still considered a threat at the end of his sentence. .

If declared insane, he would be held in a psychiatric institution indefinitely, with periodic reviews.

An initial psychiatric evaluation concluded that Breivik was criminally insane, but after criticism of that verdict a second examination was commissioned. The result of the second examination, completed last week, found no evidence of mental illness.

Breivik's defence team has called 29 witnesses to argue his sanity, aiming to prove Breivik's views on multiculturalism are shared by many others and are not the result of mental illness.

His proposed witnesses include Mullah Krekar, the founder of Islamist group Ansar al-Islam, who was recently jailed in Norway for making death threats, and "Fjordman", a right-wing blogger who influenced Breivik.

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