Breivik court appearance open to public

The gunman behind the July 22nd twin attacks in Norway will appear in court via video link next week in the presence of the media and the families of the 77 victims, Oslo's district court said Tuesday.

Anders Behring Breivik, a 32-year-old 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 for 12 more weeks.

"It's very unlikely that the suspect, in a public custody hearing, would have the opportunity to communicate with anyone in a bid to cover up information in the case," the judge said on Tuesday.

The decision was widely expected as both the police and the defense were in favour of a public hearing.

On Friday, the Oslo court decided the hearing would be held via video link from Behring Breivik's prison cell, in line with new regulations that came into force on September 1st.

His lawyers nonetheless appealed the decision, demanding that their client be allowed to appear in person before the judge.

The appeals court is due to decide the issue.

Behring Breivik has admitted setting off a car bomb outside Norway's government offices in Oslo, 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.

His trial could open in April 2012.

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