Court extends Breivik’s custody by 12 weeks

Anders Behring Breivik was escorted by guards into an Oslo court room packed with dozens of reporters and spectators, including survivors of his rampage at a youth camp near the capital who were seeing him in person for the first time since the July 22 attack.

“I am a military commander in the Norwegian resistance movement,” Breivik said before the judge interrupted him and told him to stick to the issue at hand his further detention.

The court extended his custody 12 more weeks until February 6, 2012 but decided to gradually lift the restrictions on his media access, visitors and mail. Breivik is being held pending his trial on terror charges.

At the end of the hearing, the 32-year-old Norwegian asked Judge Torkjel Nesheim if he could address survivors and victims’ relatives but was turned down.

Previous court hearings in the case have been closed to the public. At the end of Monday’s hearing, the judge lifted a ban on reporting the proceedings.

Prosecutors asked to keep Breivik jailed for 12 more weeks, with restrictions on media access, visitors and mail.

Investigators say Breivik set off a fertilizer bomb outside government headquarters on July 22, killing eight people, before heading to an island retreat, where the youth wing of Norway’s governing Labour Party was holding their annual summer camp.

Disguised as a police officer, he opened fire on scores of panicked youths, shooting some as they fled into the lake. Sixty-nine people were killed on Utoya island before Breivik surrendered to a police SWAT team.

The carnage shocked Norway and the world, and still haunts a nation that sees itself as peaceful and tolerant.

Tim Viskjer, who survived the shooting spree on Utoya, watched Breivik’s hearing on a video screen in another room in the court house.

“I thought he seemed cold and inhuman,” Mr. Viskjer told Norwegian broadcaster NRK. “It was uncomfortable, but for me I moved on a little bit after seeing and hearing the suspect.”

Like he did in previous closed hearings, Breivik on Monday confessed to the attacks but pleaded not guilty to terror charges. Breivik has denied criminal guilt, saying he was in a state of war to protect Europe from being taken over by Muslim immigrants.

He described his pre-trial detention at the Ila prison in Oslo as “irrational torture.”

His defence lawyer, Geir Lippestad, told reporters after the hearing that Breivik doesn’t recognise the authority of the court and demands to be released from prison.

Investigators say they have found no evidence to support Breivik’s claims that he belongs to a network of modern-day crusaders opposed to multiculturalism, and that two other cells are ready to strike. Police prosecutor Paal Hjort Kraby said Breivik most likely plotted and executed the attacks on his own, but said it cannot be ruled out that he had accomplices.

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