Breivik trial ends in observer walkout

The trial of confessed Norwegian killer Anders Behring Breivik ended this week in a walkout of victims’ relatives and survivors as the right-wing extremist took to the stand in an attempt to defend his actions. Around 30 people left the Oslo courtroom before the 33-year-old, who killed 77 people in joint terror attacks last summer, delivered a 45-minute prepared statement to judges.

Christian Bjelland, a member of the victims’ support group, said they left as they felt there was no more Breivik could say on the matter. “He has a right to talk – we have no duty to listen,” he added.

Breivik told the court that he set a bomb outside government buildings before going on a shooting rampage at a government youth camp on July 22 last year because he wanted to save Norway and the West from Muslim invasion. He claims he is sane and driven by a political doctrine, but the court must now reach a verdict on his mental state by August 24.

As Breivik admits the crimes but does not accept the charges of murder and terrorism, he also called for an acquittal as a legal formality. Neither his testimony nor that of the survivors and bereaved was broadcast due to court restrictions.

Summing up, Breivik’s lawyer Geir Lippestad,said there is no evidence that his client had displayed violent tendencies before. “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.

The prosecution admitted that it cannot be certain that the killer is psychotic, but said there is enough doubt surrounding Breivik’s mental state to find him unaccountable for his actions.