Breivik trial ends in Norway with walkout by families
The trial of Anders Behring Breivik has ended in Norway with a walkout by families of victims in protest at his attempts to justify the massacre. As he took the stand to explain why he had killed 77 people last July, some 30 people filed out of the courtroom. Saying he had acted to stop a Muslim invasion, he asked to be considered sane and to be acquitted.
Judges will deliver their verdict on 24 August. The prosecution is asking for Breivik to be deemed insane.
Breivik’s lawyer, Geir Lippestad, said his client had been driven by extreme politics.
The trial’s final day also heard poignant testimony from people affected directly by the attacks. Breivik, 33, admits killing 77 people and injuring 242 on 22 July when he bombed government buildings in Oslo before shooting young Labour Party supporters at a camp on the island of Utoeya. His request for acquittal was a legal formality because he does not accept the charges of terrorism and premeditated murder against him.
Memorials to Breivik’s victims will be built at the two attack sites, the government announced on Friday.
Breivik’s address to the court, as well as testimony from survivors and victims’ relatives, was not broadcast. The boycott of his remarks was aimed at Breivik and not the court itself, the victims’ support group involved made clear.
The BBC’s Lars Bevanger, who was in court, said the group felt there was no more that Breivik could add.
“He has a right to talk – we have no duty to listen,” support group member Christian Bjelland said.
Taking the stand, Breivik spent 45 minutes going over his reasons for the attacks. Reading from a prepared statement, he attacked everything he disliked about his country, ranging from non-ethnic Norwegian contestants being allowed to represent Norway at Eurovision to the effect of the TV series Sex And The City on public morals. Citing statistics about Muslim birth rates, he said he had made his attacks to prevent Norway from becoming a “multicultural hell”.
‘Extreme, radical, political’
It was, Mr Lippestad stressed on Friday morning, for the court to decide whether his client had been sane at the time of the attacks.
“The mother of these actions is not violence, it is an extreme, radical, political attitude, and his actions must be perceived from the point of view of right-wing extremist culture,” he said. He described his client as an ordinary young man with good friends and colleagues. How, he asked, would a man who was mentally ill have been allowed to join a shooting club?
Nothing in Breivik’s life up until the “inferno of violence” on 22 July had indicated he was a violent person, the lawyer argued. The prosecution said they were not convinced Breivik was psychotic but there was enough doubt to ask for him to be found unaccountable for his actions.
Choking back tears, an unnamed, bereaved mother told the court what it was like to lose her daughter in the Oslo blast. She said she had decided to attend the trial for the sake of her dead daughter.
“I decided not to be afraid of Breivik. I wanted to follow the trial. I wanted to do it for my daughter.”
A mother who lost a child on Utoeya said all the focus on Breivik’s mental health had been draining.
“It’s not about his mental health,” she told the court. “It’s about us never seeing him on the street again.”
Source: BBC News
Category: World News |