Monday, 25 July 2011

BBC News - Norway: Anders Behring Breivik claims 'two more cells'

Norway gunman 'has accomplices'

Anders Behring Breivik leaves court, 25 July Anders Behring Breivik (L) will be held in isolation for the first four weeks

Norwegian police are investigating claims by Anders Behring Breivik, who has admitted carrying out Friday's twin attacks in Norway, that he has "two more cells" working with him.

Mr Breivik made the claim at his first court hearing since the bombing in Oslo and massacre at an island youth camp.

Police have now revised down the island killings from 86 to 68 but increased the bomb death toll by one to eight.

Mr Breivik was remanded in custody for eight weeks.

Oslo police asked for Mr Breivik to be held in full isolation for the first four weeks.

Judge Kim Heger agreed, saying Mr Breivik could not receive letters or have visitors except for his lawyer.

Judge Heger said police must be able to proceed with the investigation into Mr Breivik's claims without the accused being able to interfere.


I was reminded of the Oklahoma bomber Timothy McVeigh, and America's paranoid strain, as I read through the manifesto of Anders Behring Breivik.

For at least nine years he carried anger towards the changes occurring in Norwegian society. He did not accept the multicultural country that was emerging. It threatened his identity and he felt alienated from it. He was in contact with other extreme groups who increasingly saw Islam as a danger and the enemy.

Like McVeigh, Mr Breivik saw his country's political establishment as the real enemy. So the target that formed in his mind was not immigrant groups, but the government itself, and young people who were attached to the ruling left-leaning Labour Party.

Survivors I have spoken to speak of his calmness: a man locked in an internal world of hatred but maintained by a belief that what he was doing was justified.

Mr Breivik had earlier said he had acted alone.

Prosecutor Christian Hatlo said police could not rule out that someone else was involved and confirmed an investigation was underway into Mr Breivik's claims that he had worked in a cell, or group, and that there were two other cells.

Mr Breivik has been charged under the criminal law for acts of terrorism. The charges include the destabilisation of vital functions of society, including government, and causing serious fear in the population.

The judge said that Mr Breivik had admitted carrying out the attacks but had not pleaded guilty to the charges.

Mr Hatlo said the accused was very calm at the hearing, appeared "unaffected" by the events, and was willing to explain his motives. He said Mr Breivik was allowed to do this to a certain extent by the judge, but when he started reading from his manifesto he was stopped.

Mr Hatlo also said Mr Breivik understood that he might spend the rest of his life behind bars.

Norway's maximum prison sentence is 21 years, although those who continue to pose a danger to society can be detained longer.

Two psychiatrists have been assigned to assess Mr Breivik's mental health.

The BBC's Jon Sopel has been granted the only British TV interview with Norwegian PM Jens Stoltenberg

Judge Heger had earlier ruled that the hearing should be held behind closed doors.

He had said: "It is clear that there is concrete information that a public hearing with the suspect present could quickly lead to an extraordinary and very difficult situation in terms of the investigation and security."

Island shooting suspect

  • Describes himself as a Christian and conservative on Facebook page attributed to him
  • Grew up in Oslo and attended Oslo School of Management
  • Set up farm through which he was able to buy fertiliser, which may have been used to make a bomb

There had been concern among many Norwegians that Mr Breivik would use the hearing to deliver a speech seeking to justify his actions.

Instead Judge Heger summarised Mr Breivik's words in his post-hearing statement.

The judge said Mr Breivik had argued that he was acting to save Norway and Europe from "Marxist and Muslim colonisation".

The gunman had said his operation was not aimed at killing as many people as possible but that he wanted to create the greatest loss possible to Norway's governing Labour Party, which he accused of failing the country on immigration.

The bomb in Oslo targeted buildings connected to the Labour Party government, and the youth camp on Utoeya island was also run by the party.

In addition to those killed, at least 96 people were injured in the attacks.

Police officials defend their response

Police on Monday revised down the number killed on Utoeya, citing difficulties in gathering information in the wake of the shootings.

But they said there was still no exact picture of how many died in the Oslo bombing.

Political postponement

Separately, Norway's Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, in his first interview with a British broadcaster, told the BBC's Jon Sopel that the attacks would change his country but that it would "still be open and democratic".

Judge Kim Heger: "The accused believes he needed to carry out these attacks''

Mr Stoltenberg said he knew many of those who had died and now was the time to look after the wounded and the families that had lost loved ones.

He said he believed no country could ever fully protect itself from attacks such as these.

He also thanked the international community for its response.

Earlier at 1200 local time, Mr Stoltenberg, at Oslo University, declared one minute's silence in remembrance of the victims.

Thousands of people stood around a carpet of flowers at Oslo cathedral.

One Oslo citizen, Sven-Erik Fredheim, told Reuters: "It is important to have this minute of silence so that all the victims and the parents of the families know that people are thinking about them."

Meanwhile, Norway has postponed the start of party political campaigns ahead of the 12 September election, the Aftenposten newspaper reports.

The campaigning is now set to start during the second half of August.

Map of central Oslo and Utoeya

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