• Norway's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Man in flames tried to enter Oslo court

AFP · 15 May 2012, 23:01

Published: 15 May 2012 14:22 GMT+02:00
Updated: 15 May 2012 23:01 GMT+02:00

The man had early in the afternoon walked up to a large security tent outside the Oslo district court and sprayed himself, probably with a flammable liquid, before catching fire, a video published on the website of the Verdens Gang (VG) tabloid showed.

"Police officers pulled off his clothes and put out the fire," Kjell Jan Kverme, head of police security operations outside the courthouse, told AFP.

The man was seriously injured and taken to hospital, he added.

Police said the man was Norwegian of foreign origin and that the motives for his action remained unclear.

"We have no reason for the time-being to think this was linked" to the trial of Breivik, who was inside the courthouse when the man set himself ablaze, Kverme said.

The NTB news agency meanwhile reported the man was a 49-year-old desperate welfare client who had shortly before the incident gone to see his lawyer at her nearby office and, when it turned out she was not in, had left an envelope with the words "open if something serious happens to me" scrawled across the front.

When the lawyer returned to her office minutes after he left, she said she had smelled paraffin and had opened the envelope and found a letter rejecting his request for social aid inside, NTB reported.

In the VG video, the man can be seen running with his hat on fire and shouting "Shoot me! Shoot me!", before being tackled by police officers who tear off his burning sweater as he howls in pain on the ground.

Inside the courthouse, on the 19th day of Breivik's trial, young people wounded in his massacre were testifying about the shooting spree on the island of Utøya on July 22nd.

Breivik has been charged with committing terrorist acts when he bombed a government building in Oslo, killing eight people, before shooting dead another 69 in his rampage on Utøya.

The victims were there for a summer camp hosted by the ruling Labour Party's youth wing, and the youngest had just celebrated her 14th birthday.

The 33-year-old right-wing extremist has confessed to the killings but has refused to plead guilty, insisting the shootings were "cruel but necessary" to stop the Labour Party's "multicultural experiment" and the "Muslim invasion" of Norway and Europe.

Except for causing many of the journalists covering the trial to rush out, the man who set himself on fire did not disrupt Breivik's trial, which began on April 16th and is set to last until late June.

Ina Rangønes Libak, a 22-year-old, told the court about how she had  survived multiple gunshot wounds on Utøya.

"I remember all the bullets that hit me. When I was hit in the arms, I thought: this is something I can survive. When I was hit in the jaw, I thought: this is more serious. Then I was hit in the chest, and I told myself: you can die from this," she recalled.

Libak had first hidden behind a piano in the cafeteria building where 13 people were killed, and was hit by at least four bullets.

Story continues below…

"When you get shot that many times, you don't have enough hands to stop the bleeding," the young blonde said during her testimony, which drew both tears and smiles from onlookers in the courtroom.

Speaking in a clear, determined voice, Libak even made Breivik smile at one point when she recalled her satisfaction, in the name of gender equality, when she saw that the head of the rescue services that helped her on July 22nd was a woman.

While Breivik is expected to be found guilty, his 10-week trial will help determine the tricky question of his sanity and whether he will be sent to prison or to a mental institution.

If the court finds him sane, Breivik will face Norway's maximum 21-year prison sentence, but that term can be extended for as long as he is considered a threat to society.

If he is found criminally insane however, he will be sent to a closed psychiatric care unit for treatment -- a fate Breivik, who is intent upon showing that his anti-Islam ideology is not the ravings of a lunatic, has described as "worse than death".

 
 

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Sunday opening laws could get overhaul in Norway
Rema 1000 stores have been trying to get round the law on Sunday opening. Photo: NTB Scanpix

Norway's strict Sunday trading rules could get an overhaul, after supermarket bosses met with the government on Friday.

Catholic Church told to pay up over fake members
Bishop of Oslo Bernt Eidsvig

The Church in Oslo is accused of claiming people as members without their knowledge.

Norway helicopter crash due to technical failure
A woman lays flowers near the crash site on Turøy. Photo: Vidar Ruud / NTB scanpix

No human error in the crash that claimed 13 lives.

Philippine militants threaten hostages in video warning
Kjartan Sekkingstad at the wheel of a yacht in the marina. Photo: Holiday Oceanview Marina

Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad forced to plea for his life in new video.

Norway's Solheim to head UN environment agency
Erik Solheim will lead the UN Environment Programme. Photo: NTB Scanpix

Former environment minister Erik Solheim to take over top UN post.

Eurovision 2016
Norway's Eurovision hope struggles with mental 'hell'
Although she is struggling mentally, Agnete Johnsen said she is still in it to win it. Photo: Julia Nagelstad/Eurovision

21-year-old singer Agnete Johnsen has cancelled all public appearances ahead of next week's contest.

Child welfare or 'kidnapping'? Parental anguish in Norway
Foreign parents who say Barnevernet 'kidnapped' their children protested in Oslo last month. Photo:Ole Berg-Rusten / NTB Scanpix

Recent global protests have put Norway's child welfare services back squarely in the centre of controversy.

Norway to send 60 soldiers to train Syrians fighting Isis
Norwegian troops are already training Kurdish peshmerga fighters in the Iraqi Kurdistan region. Photo: Torbjørn Kjosvold/Forsvaret

Nordic nation ups its efforts in anti-Isis coalition.

No distress call in Norway helicopter crash
The pilots reportedly gave an "everything okay" update shortly before the crash. Photo: Torstein Bøe / NTB scanpix

UPDATED: The pilots in Friday’s fatal helicopter crash did not send out a distress call before the aircraft went down, indicating that there was no time to react.

Norway's oil fund to take on executive pay controversy
If the fund takes a stance on executive pay, it could be felt in corner offices around the world. Photo: Iris/Scanpix

Norway could greatly influence the global debate on CEO salaries with a change to its investment strategies.

Sponsored Article
How to launch your international career
All 13 on board die in Norway helicopter crash
National
All 13 on board die in Norway helicopter crash
Sponsored Article
What's the best way for expats to transfer money abroad?
National
Norway violated mass murderer's human rights: court
Norway to allow gay church weddings
Society
Church of Norway to allow same-sex weddings
Norway to allow gay church weddings
Society
Church of Norway to allow same-sex weddings
For first time, majority in Norway don’t believe in God
Society
For first time, majority in Norway don’t believe in God
Norway preps 'breakthrough' on gender change
Health
Norway preps 'breakthrough' on gender change
Breivik says he'll fight 'to the death' for Nazism
National
Breivik says he'll fight 'to the death' for Nazism
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
National
Memo: Norway 'not mentally prepared' for refugees' impact
Norway is the world's fourth happiest country
Society
Norway is the world's fourth happiest country
Norway moves closer to allowing dual citizenship
National
Norway moves closer to allowing dual citizenship
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose International Health Insurance
Politics
Norway's tough asylum plans face resistance
National
'Patriot' group Soldiers of Odin debut in Norway
National
Oslo is the real ‘Capital of Scandinavia’
Health
Norway ads use Hitler teddy bear to scare parents... about dust
National
Migrants: Norway 'sending us to death' in Russia
Norway under fire over tough new asylum plans
Health
Norway doctors push plan for 'tobacco-free generation'
2,110
jobs available