Norway mass killer wants time in court to tell why

Right-wing anti-Islam extremist who killed 93 people wants to explain actions he deemed "atrocious" but "necessary."

July 25, 2011 12:09
1 minute read.
Anders Breivik

Anders Breivik. (photo credit: REUTERS)

OSLO - Anders Behring Breivik wants to tell Norway and the world why he killed at least 93 people in a bomb attack and shooting rampage when he appears in court on Monday, his lawyer said.

Calling himself a crusader against a tide of Islam in a rambling 1,500-page online manifesto, the 32-year-old mass murderer wants the opportunity to explain actions he deemed 'atrocious' but 'necessary'.

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The judge will have to decide whether the custody hearing, expected to start after 1 p.m. (1100 GMT), will be held in public or behind closed doors.

The issue has generated a debate about freedom of expression with many Norwegians opposed to allowing a man who has shaken the nation's psyche to expound his views.

Breivik has asked to wear a uniform in court, but his lawyer, Geir Lippestad, said he did not know what type. The killer was dressed as a policeman during his shooting spree.

His lawyer said it was not clear what sort of uniform he wanted to wear. Breivik has not served in the armed forces but in some of the pictures he posted on the Internet before his killing spree he was dressed in a military-style outfit.

Police did not confirm a local media report that they planned to request a closed hearing. "It's up to the judge to decide. It's not uncommon that the police will ask for it in advance but I don't know if the police will ask for that," Liv Corneliussen, a police prosecutor, told Reuters.

Lippestad said his client had admitted to Friday's shootings at a Labor youth camp and an earlier bombing that killed seven people in Oslo's government district, but that he denies any criminal guilt.

"He has been politically active and found out himself that he did not succeed with usual political tools and so resorted to violence," Lippestad told TV2 news.

"I await a medical assessment of him," he said.

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