Decade after massacring dozens, the Norwegian killer seeks parole

By David Keyton and Karl Ritter | Associated Press

SKIEN, Norway – Anders Behring Breivik, the Norwegian right-wing extremist fanatic who killed 77 people in bomb-and-gun massacres in 2011, argued on Tuesday for an early release from prison and told a probation officer that he had renounced violence, even when he confessed to white. supremacist views and flashy Nazi greetings.

Breivik, 42, is serving Norway’s maximum sentence of 21 years for firing a bomb in Oslo’s government district and carrying out a massacre at a summer camp for left-wing youth activists. Under Norwegian law, he is entitled to his first parole after 10 years in prison.

Although experts agree that the release of Breivik is highly unlikely, the authorities have insisted that he has the same rights as any other prisoner, arguing that a different treatment of him would undermine the principles that supports Norwegian society, including the rule of law and freedom of expression.

At the three-day court hearing, which takes place in the high-security prison in Skien south of Oslo, where he is in solitary confinement with three cells at his disposal, Breivik made full use of his rights.

Wearing a stubble and a two-piece suit, he entered the makeshift courtroom of a prison gymnasium by raising his right hand in a Nazi salute and holding up homemade signs with white supremacy messages. A sign was attached to his suit.

Asked by the prosecutor who the messages were aimed at, he said they were aimed at millions of people who “support white power.”

The Associated Press opposes being used as a channel for speech or images advocating hatred or spreading propaganda, and does not publish images showing Breivik’s Nazi greetings and other white supremacist propaganda.

Breivik has used previous court hearings to spread conspiracy theories about an ongoing genocide of white people in the West. Some worry that he could inspire like-minded people to carry out similar attacks. But since his criminal trial in 2012, many Norwegians have insisted that the best way to defy his worldview is to stand up for a tolerant, open society and show that the system he claims oppresses him actually gives him every chance to Garden. his day in court.

Kristin Bergtora Sandvik, law professor at the University of Oslo, said that Breivik pushed the boundaries in Tuesday’s hearing.

“At the same time, it’s pretty clear that the prosecutor has a very clear strategy here,” she said. “By letting him speak … he gets his very incoherent message out in the open.”

In an elaborate monologue to the court, Breivik claimed that there is a distinction between militant and non-militant white nationalists, saying that he had been brainwashed by the former when he carried out his attacks in Oslo and at the summer retreat on Utoya Island.

“Today, I strongly dissociate myself from violence and terror,” he said. “I hereby give you my word of honor that this is behind me forever.”

To remind the court of the scale of the attacks, prosecutor Hulda Karlsdottir read the names of each of Breivik’s victims, many of them teenagers at the annual retreat. Many were shot several times and some drowned as they tried to swim from the island in panic. During the criminal case, Breivik said he considered the victims traitors to embrace multiculturalism and that he regretted not killing even more.

Karlsdottir stressed that the probation hearing was not about reconsidering guilt, saying: “The main issue here is the danger associated with release.”

Breivik expressed no remorse and only said he was crying for victims on “both sides” in what he described as a culture war.

The court is set to sit until Thursday, and a decision is expected later this month.

Breivik’s lawyer Øystein Storrvik was asked during a break in the case whether his client used the hearing to spread his propaganda.

“It is a right he has under Norwegian law,” he was quoted as saying by the national television station NRK. “Whether what he chooses to say is wise or not is another matter.”

Groups representing survivors and families of the victims have said they will not comment during the hearing. Before the session, Lisbeth Kristine Røyneland, who leads a support group, said she was afraid that Breivik would use the opportunity “to speak freely and convey his extreme views to people who have the same mindset.”

Breivik was declared criminally sane in his trial, even though the prosecution claimed he was psychotic. He did not appeal his verdict, but unsuccessfully sued the government for human rights violations for denying him the right to communicate with sympathizers.

Although Norway’s maximum penalty is 21 years, Breivik can be detained for longer under a provision that allows authorities to keep criminals in jail as long as they are considered a threat to society.

Breivik has tried to start a fascist party in prison and reached out via email to like-minded extremists in Europe and the United States. Prison officials seized many of these letters for fear he would inspire other violent attacks. Prior to her probation, Randi Rosenqvist, the psychiatrist who has been following Breivik since 2012, said she “could not detect major changes in Breivik’s function.”

Ritter reported from Stockholm. Jan M. Olsen in Copenhagen, Denmark, contributed.

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