Anders Behring Breivik, charged with killing 77 people in twin attacks in Norway, rebuffed questioning over his militant links as prosecutors tried to prove his anti-Muslim Knights Templar group doesn’t exist.
“Your intention is to try and sow doubt about whether the network exists,” the 33-year-old Norwegian said in court in Oslo today. “That is the purpose right? I hope that you will try to ridicule me less.”
Breivik in July killed 69 people at a Labor Party youth camp on the island of Utoeya and detonated a car bomb by the prime minister’s office, taking eight lives. While he confesses to the murders, he is seeking to prove his sanity to the court in order to further his political arguments.
“I don’t wish to discuss that,” Breivik repeated as the prosecution questioned him on the validity of claims that he made his militant connections online, before travelling to Liberia to meet a Serbian national for information and training, and then to London to join the Knights Templar, on behalf of whom he says he carried out the attacks.
“The police do not trust my statement,” said Breivik, an Oslo native. “They do not think that there is a Serb. They do not think there is a person who was my English contact.”
Breivik, who says his code name was “Sigurd the Crusader” after the Norse king, told prosecutors the Knights Templar meeting in London “was basically a long-term plan on how to seize power in Western Europe. Nothing has been invented.”
Norwegians have been “deceived and betrayed by liberals and multiculturalists” and “communist doctrines” have taken over in many nations, Breivik said yesterday in a statement to the court. “Violent revolution is the only way to solve this.”
Breivik, who believes his actions were “necessary to prevent war in Europe” according to attorney Geir Lippestad, has been indicted on two terror charges as well as murder and if deemed sane by the court may be sentenced to detention for a maximum of 21 years along with the possibility of extensions.
An initial psychiatric evaluation last year found Breivik to be suffering from paranoid schizophrenia, meaning he would face compulsory treatment rather than prison. The decision was criticized by victims and caused the Oslo court to order a new assessment in January.
A second evaluation found him not to be clinically psychotic and therefore accountable for his actions. Neither evaluation is binding for the court.
If found sane by the judges, Breivik faces a maximum sentence of 21 years and the possibility of five-year extensions as long as he’s deemed a danger to society.
While Breivik says he can’t remember the dates or details about his trips, he has Liberian stamps in his passport and a visa for the West African country, prosecutor Inga Bejer Engh told the Oslo court. A police investigation also found him to have withdrawn money from an ATM in neighboring Ivory Coast, the prosecution said.
“Isn’t it interesting that you know I was there, when you felt it was a psychotic fantasy,” Breivik said. He refused to name any of the individuals involved in his trips, saying he wouldn’t “convey information that will lead to anyone’s arrest.”
At the opening of the 10-week trial on April 16, Breivik refused to admit guilt for the July 22 attacks and declined to accept the authority of the court even as he confessed to the murders, arguing they were in self defense.
The trial is being broadcast to 17 court houses nationwide to allow about 2,000 aggrieved relatives and friends of the victims to follow the proceedings.
To contact the reporter on this story: Kristin Myers in Oslo on at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jonas Bergman at email@example.com