The man who has confessed to carrying out a bombing and shooting spree that left 93 people dead in Norway will be held for eight weeks, half of that in complete isolation, after a closed hearing in which he said his terror network had two other cells.
Anders Behring Breivik has confessed to the attacks but denied criminal responsibility, pleading not guilty on Monday to one of the deadliest modern mass killings in peacetime. He told the court he wanted to save Europe and send a strong signal, Judge Kim Heger said after a closed court hearing.
Breivik could tamper with evidence if released, and will be held for at least another two months without access to visitors, mail or media, the judge said. Typically, the accused is brought to court every four weeks while prosecutors prepare their case, so a judge can approve his continued detention. Longer periods are not unusual in serious cases.
Breivik made clear in an Internet manifesto that he planned to turn his court appearance into theatre, preparing a speech for his appearance in court even before launching the attacks, then requesting an open hearing in which he would wear a uniform. Both of those requests were denied.
The suspect has said staged the bombing and youth camp rampage as “marketing” for his manifesto calling for a revolution that would rid Europe of Muslims.
“The operation was not to kill as many people as possible but to give a strong signal that could not be misunderstood that as long as the Labour Party keeps driving its ideological lie and keeps deconstructing Norwegian culture and mass importing Muslims then they must assume responsibility for this treason,” according to the English translation of Judge Heger’s ruling that was read out after the hearing.
Breivik alluded to two other “cells” of his network — which he imagines as a new Knights Templar, the medieval cabal of crusaders who protected Christian pilgrims. At one point, his manifesto briefly referred to an intention to contact two other cells, but no details were given.
European security officials said they were aware of increased Internet chatter from individuals claiming they belonged to the Knights Templar group and were investigating claims that Breivik, and other far-right individuals, attended a London meeting of the group in 2002.
Reporters and locals thronged the courthouse on Monday ahead of the hearing for their first glimpse of Breivik since the assault. When one car drove through the crowd, people hit its windows and one person shouted an expletive, believing Breivik was inside.
The hearing ended after about 35 minutes.
Peaceful, liberal Norway has been stunned by the bombing in downtown Oslo and the shooting massacre at a youth camp outside the capital, which the suspect said were intended to start a revolution to inspire Norwegians to retake their country from Muslims and other immigrants. He blames liberals for championing multiculturalism over Norway’s “indigenous” culture.
Police have said Breivik used two weapons during the rampage — both of which were bought legally, according to the manifesto. Witnesses have reported fleeing into the water or playing dead to try to escape the gunman, who shot many people twice to ensure they were dead.
Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg led the mourning nation in a minute of silence on Monday, standing on the steps of an Oslo university next to a flame. The king and queen stood by as well, and neighbouring countries Denmark and Sweden also joined in the remembrance.
Signs of normality began to return to Oslo on Monday. A wide police cordon around the bomb site was lifted on the first workday since the attacks, leaving just a narrower zone closed off. Most shops were open and trams were rumbling through the city’s streets.
But the flag on the courthouse where Breivik will appear remained at half staff, and the world’s media was buzzing around the building.
The search for more victims continues and police have not released the names of the dead. But Norway’s royal court said on 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 Princess Mette-Marit’s stepfather, who died in 2008.
Meanwhile, in an interview with Swedish tabloid Expressen, the suspect’s father said he was ashamed and disgusted by his son’s acts and wished he had committed suicide.
“I don’t feel like his father,” said former diplomat Jens David Breivik from his secluded home in southern France. “How could he just stand there and kill so many innocent people and just seem to think that what he did was okay? He should have taken his own life too. That’s what he should have done.”
Breivik said he first learned the news of his son’s attacks from media websites. “I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was totally paralysing and I couldn’t really understand it.”
“I will have to live with this shame for the rest of my life. People will always link me with him,” he said.
Jens David Breivik said he had severed all contact with his son in 1995 when the latter was 16.
Police were surrounding the suspect’s father’s house in the south of France on Monday. They initially said they were searching the premises, but later said they were there to ensure public order. Journalists were outside the property.