A Polish academic authorities say was fascinated with Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik and upset over the economy was arrested on suspicion of plotting to kill the nation’s president and blow up Parliament.
An analysis of Breivik’s Internet purchases of explosives before he massacred 77 people last year led to the suspect’s arrest on Nov. 9, Prime Minister Donald Tusk said today. The 45-year-old “expert in explosives” from the Agricultural University in Krakow was trying to set up a group to kill President Bronislaw Komorowski and other officials during a session of Parliament, according to prosecutors.
“This individual didn’t hide his fascination with Breivik,” Tusk told journalists after the government met in Warsaw today. “We’ve never dealt with such a case before.”
The suspect, whose name wasn’t made public, planned to detonate four tons of explosives from a car parked outside Parliament, Mariusz Krason of the Appellate Prosecutor’s Office in Krakow said at a news conference in Warsaw today. Poland’s Internal Security Agency detained two others in connection with the planned attacks.
While the man wasn’t a member of any political party, “he described himself as being nationalistic, xenophobic and anti-Semitic,” Krason told reporters. A search turned up explosives, remote-controlled detonators, weapons and ammunition, he said.
“He believed the economic and political situation in Poland is going in the wrong direction and the change requires taking radical steps,” Krason said. The suspect, who faces as many as five years in prison, didn’t admit to planning attacks and said he was “acting on suggestions from other people,” according to Krason.
With Poland’s jobless rate stuck above 12 percent, public disaffection has grown and Tusk’s government has fallen behind the opposition Law and Justice party in some polls. Growth in the European Union’s biggest eastern economy has slowed to its weakest pace in almost three years amid a drop in demand from the crisis-hit euro region, Poland’s main market for exports.
Breivik, who also expressed disaffection with his nation’s politics, bombed the Norwegian premier’s office, killing eight, and took 69 lives in a shooting spree at a youth camp in July last year. In August, he was sentenced to 21 years in jail, with an option for extensions, after all five judges found him mentally fit for prison.
Polish prosecutors played a video recording at today’s news conference of what they said were test explosions conducted by the suspect. They also showed photographs of guns, ammunition and license plates found during the search.
“We wanted to organize the news conference a week ago, but the case required further investigation and discretion,” Krason said.
The foiled attacks follow the killing of an opposition Law and Justice party employee in Lodz in 2010. Six policemen were injured and 132 people were arrested in Warsaw on Nov. 11 after demonstrators clashed with police during marches to commemorate the country’s Independence Day.
“The danger was real,” Artur Wrona, head of the Appellate Prosecutors Office in Krakow, said at the news conference. “In Norway, they also didn’t suspect that they had a Breivik in their midst, but we all know how it ended.”