Breivik takes the stand at Norway massacre trial

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09:13 CEST+02:00
Anders Behring Breivik will get a chance to explain himself in court on Tuesday in testimony that his lawyer said will be hard to listen to.

After sitting through the first day of the trial on Monday listening to the prosecution present a devastating case against him, Breivik will as of Tuesday have five days to explain his massacre, although many fear he will attempt to take the opportunity to spread his Islamophobic ideology.

On Monday, the 33-year-old was permitted to speak briefly when he entered his plea of "not guilty" and voiced his disdain for the court.

"I acknowledge the acts, but not criminal guilt, and I claim legitimate defence," said Breivik, who is accused of "acts of terror," also telling the judges he did not "recognize the Norwegian court."

Just moments earlier, he touched his chest and extended his clenched right fist in front of him in a salute as his handcuffs were removed on his entry into the courtroom.

On Tuesday, the questioning of Breivik and his own testimony will begin, and his lawyers have cautioned his words will likely be hard to swallow.

His team have insisted their client will not be allowed to use the court to launch into an ideological rant, but have asked the court's permission for Breivik to be permitted to read a prepared text, which would take about 30 minutes.

The court has yet to rule on the matter.

During his testimony, Breivik "will not only defend (his actions) but will also lament, I think, not going further," Breivik's main defence lawyer Geir Lippestad warned last week.

That lack of compassion with his victims and their families was evident Monday: Breivik sat stony-faced for almost an hour as prosecutors read aloud a long list of names of the dead and injured and recalled chilling details of his massacre.

On July 22nd, Breivik killed eight people when he set off a bomb in a van parked at the foot of buildings housing the offices of Labour Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, who was not present at the time.

He then travelled to Utøya island where, dressed as a police officer, he spent more than an hour methodically shooting at hundreds of people attending a ruling Labour Party youth summer camp.

The shooting spree claimed the lives of 69 people, trapped on the small heart-shaped island surrounded by icy waters. It was the deadliest massacre ever committed by a lone gunman.

Breivik showed no emotion Monday as the prosecution presented graphic surveillance footage of his Oslo bombing and a desperate emergency call from a young woman hiding in a bathroom as he went on his shooting rampage on Utøya island.

He did however tear up as the court viewed a 12-minute anti-Islam film he made summarizing his manifesto.

Lippestad told reporters after the first trial day that his client's tears appeared to be linked to his feelings that his attacks were "cruel but necessary ... to save Europe from an ongoing war."

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Some of the survivors and victims' relatives also said they did not interpret the tears as remorse.

"I personally feel that him crying was basically him being moved by what he had accomplished. It was not a sign of regret at all," John Kyrre Lars Hestnes of the July 22 Support Group told AFP.

Breivik's trial is due to last 10 weeks and to focus primarily on his sanity, which will determine if he will get a 21-year jail term which could then be extended indefinitely if he is still considered a threat to society.

If he is found insane he could receive closed psychiatric care, possibly for life.

Breivik wants to be found sane and accountable for his actions so that his ideology and manifesto will not be considered the ravings of a lunatic.

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