LONDON (MCT) — Anders Behring Breivik, who has confessed to killing 77 people in a rampage last July, went on trial Monday in Oslo for Norway’s worst criminal episode since World War II.
The 33-year-old right-wing extremist has admitted to slaying 69 young people gathered for an annual Labor Party political camp on the Norwegian island of Utoya on July 22 after killing eight other people by detonating a homemade bomb that destroyed a government building in the center of the Norwegian capital.
Breivik appeared calm and defiant as he entered the courtroom dressed in a dark suit and wearing handcuffs. He surveyed the ranks of media and public packed inside the courtroom and smiled. Family members and survivors of the attacks were in the public sector, separated from the defendant by thick glass partitions.
After his handcuffs were removed he gave a raised-fist fascist style salute before sitting down and giving a brief statement, saying: “I do not recognize the Norwegian courts. … You have received your mandate from political parties which support multiculturalism.” He went on to say he acknowledged the acts but claimed he carried them out “in self defense.”
Breivik’s antagonism to Islam, Muslim immigrants and multiculturalism has been aired in documents and statements since the killings. Through his lawyer, Geir Lippestad, he has said he was sorry he “didn’t go further” to kill more than the 77 victims.
Under Norwegian law he faces a maximum penalty of 21 years in prison, which can be extended to life.