Breivik to appear in court via video link

A court in Oslo ruled on Friday that Anders Behring Breivik, the gunman behind the twin attacks in Norway, will make his next court appearance via video link, despite opposition from defence lawyers.

The November 14th video conference appearance will be a first for Norway's courts, made possible by a legal change that came into effect on September 1st.

The ruling followed a police request, which cited the cost and logistical hurdles of transporting the country's most high-profile defendant.

At the hearing, the court will have to decide on whether to extend Behring Breivik's provisional detention for another 12 weeks.

Lawyers for Behring Breivik, a right-wing extremist who is currently being held at the high-security Ila prison near Oslo, said the video conference would not allow the judge to adequately assess their client's health after weeks in solitary confinement.

The court on Friday agreed with a previous assertion by police that there was no evidence suggesting Behring Breivik's health had seriously deteriorated.

The court must also decide wether to allow an open hearing.

Oslo judges are likely to back the move, since police, who previously insisted on closed hearings, said last week they were willing to make the court sessions "partially" public.

Media would be allowed in the court but would be barred from reporting on anything said.

An open hearing would also provide a first chance for victims' relatives to confront Behring Breivik, 32, who has admitted to setting off a car bomb outside Norway's government offices in Oslo on July 22nd, killing eight people.

He then went 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 teenagers, 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.