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Norway

Breivik pleads not guilty in first public court appearance since deadly July shooting

Breivik to go on trial in February 2012
Breivik to go on trial in February 2012 Reuters/Jon-Are Berg-Jacobsen

Right-wing extremist Anders Behring Breivik, the man behind the bloody July attacks in Norway that killed 77 people, is to go on trial on 16 April next year. But only if a psychiatric examination set to wrap up this month concludes that he can be held criminally responsible for his acts. 

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Breivik made his first public court appearance on Monday in Oslo attended by survivors of the massacre and victims’ family members. His request to speak to the families “for five minutes” was turned down by judge Torkel Nesheim.

He was also prevented from making a speech by the judge who said he did not want to offer Breivik “a soap box or an opportunity to justify his actions.”

Breivik has admitted to setting off a car bomb outside Norway’s government offices in Oslo on 22 July killing eight people, before going on a shooting rampage on the nearby island of Utoeya where the ruling Labour Party’s youth wing was hosting a summer camp. Sixty nine people were killed in thaemassacre.

In court on Monday, he repeated the line he has taken since his arrest. “I acknowledge the facts but I do not plead guilty,” he said. He described his actions as “cruel but necessary”.

Breivik was remanded in custody until 6 February and visits and correspondence will be strictly restricted for the first eight weeks of the renewed detention period.
 

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