Anders Behring Breivik claimed that questions about his mental health were part of a racist plot to discredit his extreme anti-Muslim ideology yesterday as he attempted to prove he is not insane during the trial into his bombing and shooting spree in Norway last year.
Speaking on his final day of testimony, the 33-year-old, who has admitted killing 77 people in the 22 July massacre in Oslo and the nearby island of Utoya, said no one would have asked for a psychiatric examination had he been a "bearded jihadist". He said: "But, because I am a militant nationalist, I am being subjected to grave racism."
Breivik rejects criminal guilt for the rampage, saying the victims betrayed their country by embracing immigration. Even the defence admits there is virtually no chance of an acquittal, so the key issue in the trial is whether Breivik is criminally insane.
Two psychiatric examinations reached opposite conclusions on that point. Breivik insists he is sane and accuses the prosecutors of trying to make him look irrational. "I know I'm at risk of ending up at an insane asylum, and I'm going to do what I can to avoid that," he told the court.
Breivik became defensive as he was quizzed about sections of the 1,500-page manifesto he posted online before the attacks. It describes uniforms, medals, greetings and codes of conduct for the "Knights Templar" militant group he claims to belong to. Prosecutors don't believe it exists.
In one section, read by the prosecutor Svein Holden, Breivik speculated that, in his future society, the loyalty of potential knights might be tested by asking them to undergo surgical amputation and castration. Breivik said that was taken out of context.
Breivik showed no remorse as he continued his testimony about his shooting spree at the summer youth camp of the governing Labour Party on Utoya island. Calling the rampage "necessary", he compared being shunned by those close to him to the grief of the bereaved. "The only difference was that for my part it was a choice," he said. The self-styled crusader apologised to the family of a pub owner who was among the eight people killed in the blast outside government offices in Oslo, saying it was not his intention to kill "civilians". The prosecutor asked him if he wanted to express a similar apology to the families of other victims. "No I don't," Breivik said. "I see all multicultural political activists as evil monsters who wish to eradicate our people, our ethnic group, our culture and our country."
Jon Hestnes, who heads a support group for victims' families and survivors, said it was "gruesome" to listen to Breivik's apology. "It's an insult to the 76 other people who actually died because of that man," he said. "He's not in our world. He doesn't have humanity at all."
Speaking calmly, Breivik said he used a handgun to kill victims if the distance was less than 10 metres. Otherwise he used his rifle. Asked why he spared one man who survived the shooting spree, Breivik said he thought it was because the man's appearance made him look "right wing-oriented". If found sane, Breivik would face 21 years in prison, though he can be held longer if deemed a danger to society. But if he is sentenced to psychiatric care, in theory he would be released once he is no longer deemed psychotic and dangerous.