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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Kongsberg attacker killed victims with ‘sharp object’

Norwegian police said Monday that the five victims of last week's attack were killed by a "sharp object" used by the suspect, not a bow and arrows.

The Kongsberg attacker is said to have killed five people with sharp objects. Pictured is police tape from a separate incident.
The Kongsberg attacker is said to have killed five people with sharp objects. Pictured is police tape from a separate incident. Photo by Søren Storm Hansen on Flickr.

“At some point he discarded or lost his bow and arrows,” police inspector Per Thomas Omholt told reporters.

He said that during the attack on Wednesday the suspect killed “five people with a sharp object both in private addresses and in public spaces”.

Police, who had previously said that the suspect Espen Andersen Brathen was armed with a bow and arrows and two other weapons, did not specify the nature of the sharp weapons, adding that they were still interviewing witnesses.

“Everything points to the victims being selected at random,” Omholt said.

According to the police, more than 10 people were also shot at with arrows at the start of the attack, but none were killed with this weapon.

READ MORE: Norway police query Kongsberg attacker’s Muslim faith

During police questioning, Brathen has confessed to the killings and to wounding three others.

The 37-year-old Danish citizen has announced publicly that he is a convert to Islam and initially police reported that there had been fears of radicalisation.

He is however being kept in a medical facility pending a psychiatric evaluation, which is necessary to determine whether Brathen can be held legally responsible for his actions.

“As far as motive is concerned, illness remains the main hypothesis. And as far as conversion to Islam is concerned, this hypothesis is weakened,” Omholt added.

On Saturday, police announced the identities of the five victims, four women and one man: Andrea Meyer, 52, Hanne Merethe Englund, 56, Liv Berit Borge, 75, Gunnar Erling Sauve, 75 and Gun Marith Madsen, 78.