News / Europe

Norway Suspect Appears ‘Calm’ at Hearing

Norway's twin terror attacks suspect Anders Behring Breivik, left, sits in an armored police vehicle after leaving the courthouse following a hearing in Oslo, July 25, 2011 where he pleaded not guilty to one of the deadliest modern mass killings in peacet
Norway's twin terror attacks suspect Anders Behring Breivik, left, sits in an armored police vehicle after leaving the courthouse following a hearing in Oslo, July 25, 2011 where he pleaded not guilty to one of the deadliest modern mass killings in peacet
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A man charged with killing at least 76 people in Norway appeared ‘calm’ during his first court appearance in Oslo, according to Norwegian officials. A judge said the suspect admitted involvement in last Friday’s twin attack, but did not plead guilty.  

The accused gunman, Anders Behring Breivik, was unshaven and wore a red shirt.  Police said during the court appearance he appeared calm and unaffected by recent events. The hearing was held behind closed doors in order, officials said, to protect the investigation.

A judge said afterwards the defendant will be remanded in custody for eight weeks and held in solitary confinement for four weeks.

Judge Kim Heger spoke to journalists following the hearing.

He said Breivik had testified that the aim of the operation was not to kill as many people as possible but to give a strong signal that Norway must not be colonized by Muslims.  

Last Friday a car bomb exploded in central Oslo. Within hours a gunman opened fire on a nearby island where young people from the ruling party’s youth wing had gathered for a weekend summer camp.  

Breivik has been charged with both attacks. He said “two more cells” exist in his organization, but that he acted alone. Investigators said they could provide no more information about the alleged cells.

Norway’s police have revised the death toll, putting the total dead at 76. They said eight people were killed in the bombing and 68 people killed on the island.  

Speaking in England, the leaders of Britain and Spain said European countries must tackle extremism together.

"Britain and Spain have both been victims of horrific acts of terrorism in the past, and I know that both of us will offer every support that we can to Norway in the days ahead," said British Prime Minister David Cameron.

Cameron said he is taking “extremely seriously” claims that Breivik had links with extreme right-wing groups in Britain.  

An expert in European right-wing extremism at London's Kingston University, Andrea Mammone, says there is an underground right-wing community across Europe. He says the views expressed by the suspect are not uncommon within that community.

“Certainly this ideology of Europe is not actually something too strange in the extreme right, historically," said Mammone."You have extreme right-wing theories talking about the importance of Europe as a whole, the importance of European people, of European culture - and this is exactly what this guy is trying to do.”

Information allegedly published online by the suspect conveys anti-Marxist and anti-Islamic views.

Mammone says although Breivik’s views are held by others on the right, most do not actively support violence. But he says such radical views are dangerous.

"When you radicalize all these ideas it might be possible that someone promotes or implements violence," said Mammone. "Because what do you do if your national government does not take this issue of immigration, of multiculturalism, of immigrants costing too much?  I mean I am not saying that everyone can radicalize in this way, but certainly they play a hot game in some cases."

Breivik has written a manifesto outlining his beliefs. Police say he began reading the tract during his hearing, but was stopped. They said psychiatrists are analyzing his mental stability.

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