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Suspect In Norway Attacks Wants Open Hearing

Filed by KOSU News in World News.
July 25, 2011

The man who confessed to the twin attacks that killed 93 people in Norway will be arraigned in court Monday and has requested an open hearing for his first appearance so that he can explain his massacre to the public.

But prosecutors have asked that the court be closed to the public and media. They’ve also asked for eight weeks to prepare their case, said Oslo District Court spokeswoman Irene Ramm.

Anders Behring Breivik, 32, has confessed he was behind the bombing in downtown Oslo and shooting massacre at a youth camp outside the capital, but denies criminal responsibility. His lawyer Geir Lippestad told Norwegian broadcaster NRK that Breivik has requested to appear in a uniform during the hearing, but didn’t know what kind.

The search for victims continues and police have not released their names. But Norway’s royal court said Monday that those killed at the island retreat included Crown Princess Mette-Marit’s stepbrother, an off-duty police officer, who was working there as a security guard.

Court spokeswoman Marianne Hagen told The Associated Press that his name was Trond Berntsen, the son of Mette-Marit’s stepfather, who died in 2008.

Meanwhile, French police were searching the suspect’s father’s home Monday. About a dozen officers surrounded the house in Couranel in southern France, entering and leaving at irregular intervals. The house was cordoned off, and reporters did not have access.

The regional gendarme service confirmed the house was that of Anders Behring Breivik’s father but would not comment on the search operation. News reports have said Breivik’s father, Jens Breivik, has not been in touch with his son in many years.

The attacks have rattled Norway, a small and wealthy country unused to political violence, and known internationally as a peace mediator, prominent foreign aid donor and as home of the Nobel Peace Prize. Survivors of the camp shooting on the Utoya island described how a gunman dressed in a police uniform urged people to come closer and then opened fire, sending panicked youths fleeing into the water.

Police say 86 people were killed. About 90 minutes earlier, a car bomb exploded in the government district in central Oslo, killing seven.

More than 90 people were wounded, and others remained missing at both crime scenes.

Dr. Colin Poole, head of surgery at Ringriket Hospital in Honefoss northwest of Oslo, told The Associated Press that the gunman used special bullets designed to disintegrate inside the body and cause maximum internal damage. Poole said surgeons treating 16 gunshot victims have recovered no full bullets.

“These bullets more or less exploded inside the body,” Poole said. “It’s caused us all kinds of extra problems in dealing with the wounds they cause, with very strange trajectories.”

Ballistics experts say “dum-dum”-style bullets also are lighter in weight and can be fired with greater accuracy over varying distances.

Online Manifesto

Breivik laid out his extreme nationalist philosophy as well as attack methods in a 1,500-page manifesto. It also describes how he bought armor, guns, tons of fertilizer and other bomb components, and stashed caches of weapons — all while evading police suspicion and being nice to his neighbors.

Police are poring over the document, which they said was posted the day of the attack. It rants against Muslim immigration to Europe and vows revenge on “indigenous Europeans,” whom Breivik accused of betraying their heritage. It adds that they would be punished for their “treasonous acts.”

“The calculated cynicism in it is really staggering,” Goran Skaalmo, an investigative reporter in Norway, told NPR’s Linda Wertheimer. “He calls the operation in Oslo the ‘ultimate love gift’ at one time. He says in the foreword that to put this whole work together has cost him 370,000 euros. Also, he sees himself as a European hero.”

European security officials said Sunday they were aware of increased Internet chatter from individuals claiming they belonged to the Knights Templar, a group that Breivik refers to in the manifesto. They said they were still investigating claims that Breivik, and other far-right individuals, attended a London meeting of the group in 2002. The two officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak about the investigation.

Mourning At ‘Mass Of Sadness And Hope’

As authorities pursued the suspect’s motives, Oslo mourned the victims. Norway’s King Harald V and his wife Queen Sonja and Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg crowded into Oslo Cathedral, where the pews were packed, and people spilled into the plaza outside the building. The area was strewn with flowers and candles, and people who could not fit in the grand church huddled under umbrellas in a drizzle.

The king and queen both wiped tears from their eyes during the service for “sorrow and hope.”

Reporter Teri Schultz called the service “very emotional.”

“The ceremony was called ‘the Mass of sadness and hope,’ and people were trying to speak of hope … but the scene was mostly one of sadness today,” she told NPR’s Wertheimer.

After the service, people sobbed and hugged one another in the streets, as many lingered over the memorial of flowers and candles.

In London, the leader of Ramadhan Foundation, one of Britain’s largest Muslim groups, said mosques are being extra vigilant in the wake of the attacks. Mohammed Shafiq told The Associated Press he was talking to other European Muslim leaders and British police about the need to increase security.

Material from The Associated Press was used in this report. [Copyright 2011 National Public Radio]

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