Police want Breivik to appear by video link

Oslo police requested on Monday that the gunman behind the July 22nd twin attacks make his next court appearance via a video link in the presence of the media instead of in person behind closed doors, a police spokesman said.

Anders Behring Breivik, a right-wing extremist who is currently being held at the high-security Ila prison near Oslo, is scheduled to appear before a judge at the Oslo district court on November 14th for a hearing on the extension of his custody.

All of his hearings have until now been held in his presence behind closed doors.

But police now want to make use of new regulations in effect since September 1st that allow police to ask for a person to appear via a video link between a courthouse and prison.

"It's advantageous in terms of efficiency," Oslo police spokesman Roar Hanssen told AFP.

"It makes it possible to ease up on security," he added.

Police have also agreed to make the hearing "partially" public for the first time, allowing the presence of the media and representatives of the victims, though they would not be allowed to report on anything said during the hearing.

Meanwhile, the defence, which has from the beginning sought maximum publicity for the hearings, said it was "sceptical" about a video link.  

"It has to do with my client's legal rights," lawyer Geir Lippestad told local media.

"It's very different to express yourself in front of a camera in your cell than in front of a judge in a courtroom," he said.

The final decision will be made by the Oslo district court.

Behring Breivik, 32, has admitted setting off a car bomb outside Norway's government offices in Oslo on July 22nd, killing eight people, before going on a shooting rampage on the nearby island of Utøya where the ruling Labour Party's youth wing was hosting a summer camp.

Sixty-nine people, mostly teens, died in the shooting massacre.

In a manifesto he published on the Internet just before the attacks, Behring Breivik said he was on a "crusade" against Islam and professed his hatred for Western-style democracy, saying it had spawned the multicultural society he loathed.

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