- Published on Wednesday, 02 May 2012 10:20
- Written by Lucy Wileman
Norwegian Anders Breivik, the self-declared ultra-nationalist who is accused of killing 77 people on July 25th last year, pleaded not guilty as his trial began last Monday.
The accused is standing trial for killing eight people with a car bomb in central Oslo, before opening fire on teenagers at a Labour Party youth camp on nearby Utøya Island, killing a further 69 people.
Claiming that he had acted out of necessity, Breivik said, “I acknowledge the acts but do not plead guilty,” later arguing that that the attacks were an act of defence against the threat of multi-culturalism. Vehemently convinced that Muslim immigrants are taking over Western Europe, Breivik described his bloodbath as the most “spectacular attack by a nationalist militant since World War II.”
Breivik claims that the Labour Party is destroying Norway by permitting it to become “a dumping ground for the surplus births of the third world” and by allowing the “Islamification of Europe”. The intention behind the attacks was to save Norway from these multicultural forces and to encourage racial purity, said Breivik.
Norway, which prides itself on its liberal democratic values, has vowed to keep the trial as fair as possible and intends to protect the rights of the accused. However, Breivik has questioned this democratic standard, asking whether a country that has opened up its borders without the support of the people can be considered democratic.
Breivik was moved to tears when the court showed his homemade YouTube video manifesto, said, “My film was touching. My country and ethnic group are dying. That’s why I became emotional.”
Amid speculation that Breivik would use the televised trial as a platform to spread his ideas, the court decided not to broadcast his 73-minute prepared statement. Breivik had previously argued that the broadcast of his testimony was his human right. CNN reporters later commented that “There is a very big difference between an explanation and propaganda.”
Psychiatrists have offered differ-ing evaluations regarding Breivik’s mental health and will form a final conclusion based on his testimony. The accused has said that he would rather die than be placed in a psychiatric ward but would not object to a prison sentence saying, “I am not afraid of prison. I was born in a prison since I cannot express my politics.” He maintains that Norway is a “multi-cultural hell”.
Breivik has requested acquittal and has cited “necessity” as his reason for the attacks. Section 47 of Norway’s penal code states, “No person may be punished for any act that he has committed in order to save someone’s person or property from an otherwise unavoidable danger when the circumstances justified him in regarding this danger as particularly significant in relation to the damage that might be caused by his act.”
Breivik has claimed that he was saving Norway from the risk of future civil war caused by multi-cultural confrontation. He asserted that “People will understand me one day and see that multi-culturalism has failed. If I am right, how can what I did be illegal?”