Court keeps Breivik isolated
Friday 19 August 2011
The man who admits massacring 77 people in Norway has appeared at an Oslo court hearing to decide whether he should be kept in isolation.
The Oslo District Court says Anders Behring Breivik will continue to be kept in complete isolation by police partly for fear of him tampering with evidence and contacting possible accomplices.
Breivik has admitted the July 22 killings with a truck bomb in Oslo and a shooting rampage on an island nearby.
If found guilty on terrorism charges, he could be sentenced to 21 years in prison.
Breivik had appeared at a closed hearing under heavy police protection. His earlier request to wear a long black tuxedo to the session had been rejected by the Oslo District Court, which described it as "unnecessarily disturbing and provocative."
The hearing came as survivors, relatives and close friends of the victims were visiting Utoya today and tomorrow to grieve at the island massacre site. Some 1,500 people were expected on the island.
Breivik arrived at the hearing - his second court appearance since the July 22 attacks - in a black car under heavy escort. His lawyer Geir Lippestad said he was dressed in a dark suit and appeared calm, but showed no remorse.
"In his explanations he says these acts were gruesome, but necessary, and he hasn't changed his view on that," Lippestad said after the 30-minute hearing.
"He said it was tough to be in isolation. He didn't say that much more," Lippestad said. "It's natural to feel that it's tough to sit isolated in a small room."
Survivors were not allowed access to the court, but were represented by lawyers.
"It would have been good for my clients to see him in handcuffs and chains around his feet under police escort," said Brynjar Meling, a lawyer for one of the survivors.
Another lawyer representing the victims, Sigurd Klomsaet, said Breivik appeared to lack any humility.
"His comprehension for the pain and the hurt he has caused others is completely absent. Instead, he is fully occupied with his own situation," Klomsaet said.
Breivik denies criminal guilt because he believes the massacre was necessary to save Norway and Europe. He said the attacks were an attempt at cultural revolution, aimed at purging Europe of Muslims and punishing politicians that have embraced multiculturalism.
If found guilty on terrorism charges, Breivik could be sentenced to 21 years in prison. An alternative custody arrangement - if he is still considered a danger to the public - could keep him behind bars indefinitely.
Norway's General Director of Health Bjoern Inge Larsen told reporters he hoped that the visit to Utoya would help families come to grips with the deaths.
"The police officer taking care of each family will take that family to the place where we found each of the killed young grown-up people," Larsen said before the visit.
"Of course, that will be a very difficult day for the people coping out there, but in the long run we know that seeing the scene of where these murders were taking place is actually helpful."
On Sunday, a national memorial service was to be held at Oslo Spektrum arena, marking the end of a month of mourning.
In the first court hearing on July 25, officials decided Breivik could be detained for eight weeks, including four weeks in isolation, meaning he has not been given access to television, newspapers and the internet.
Today police asked the court to extend the isolation period for another four weeks.
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