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Norwegian gunman charged in closed hearing

Written by kumaran   // July 25, 2011   // Comments Off


Anders Behring Breivik, the suspected far-right extremist accused of massacring as many as 93 people in Norway, made his first appearance in an Oslo court on Monday, hours after the country held a minute’s silence to mourn his victims.

An Oslo district court judge ruled that the hearing, in which Mr Breivik was formally charged with Friday’s bomb and shooting attacks, would be held behind closed doors so as not to compromise the ongoing investigation.

The decision also appeared aimed at denying Mr Breivik a platform to promote his extremist views after the emergence of an online “manifesto” by the 32 year-old Norwegian in which he set out his terrorist plans and voiced hope that his attack would trigger copycat violence by anti-Islamic groups elsewhere in Europe.

“It is clear that there is concrete information that a public hearing with the suspect present could quickly lead to an extraordinary and very difficult situation in terms of the investigation and security,” Judge Kim Heger said. According to his lawyer, Mr Breivik had requested a public hearing and said he wanted to appear in a uniform of some kind, increasing fears that he planned to issue a rallying cry to like-minded extremists.

If found guilty, Mr Breivik, who police say has admitted to the attacks, would face a maximum 21 year-sentence under Norwegian law but this could be extended every five years, indefinitely, if he was still considered a threat. In theory, this could allow authorities to keep him locked up for the rest of his life. [Read More]

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