The man blamed for twin terror attacks in Norway that left almost 100 people dead on Friday is due to appear in court today.
Anders Behring Breivik, 32, has admitted detonating a bomb in the capital, Oslo that killed at least seven people, before going on a shooting rampage at an island youth camp, massacring at least 86 youngsters.
The Norwegian Christian, who has been linked to far-right extremist political groups, is thought to have been planning the attack for years. Speaking through a lawyer after his arrest, he said his actions were “gruesome but necessary”.
Breivik is said to be relishing the opportunity to explain the reasons behind his massacre – which proportionally to national population resulted in a bigger loss of life than America’s 9/11 attacks – at a court hearing at 12.00 local time today. The proceedings may, however, take place behind closed doors, and there have been calls for a media blackout so Breivik is not given a platform to express his extremist views.
Police have confirmed that the Norwegian has admitted to the killings, but claims he has not accepted criminal responsibility for the indiscriminate attacks. Under the country’s legal system, he will only serve a maximum of 21 years behind bars if convicted, although his sentence could be extended further if he is deemed a continued threat to society.
Speaking to the media on Sunday, Geir Lippestad, Breivik’s lawyer, said his client “thought it was gruesome having to commit these acts, but in his head they were necessary. He wished to attack society and the structure of society.”
A 1,500-page document, which is being called a manifesto of extremist far-right beliefs, was posted on the internet by the suspect shortly before the crimes. Both the Oslo site where the bomb went off and the youth camp on Utoeya Island are connected to the governing Labour Party.
It has emerged that the farmer, who was able to buy fertiliser that may have been used to make the bomb, used dum-dum bullets at the youth camp, designed to cause maximum damage by disintegrating inside the body. A least four youngsters from the camp are still to be located and areas of the bomb site searched, meaning the death toll could rise even further.