Norway's mass killer's tears not 'out of pity'

Associated Press Modified: April 16, 2012 at 10:00 pm •  Published: April 16, 2012
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OSLO, Norway (AP) — Anders Behring Breivik shed tears as he went on trial for killing 77 people — but not for his victims. The emotional display came when prosecutors showed his anti-Muslim video.

Dressed in a dark suit and sporting a thin beard, the right-wing fanatic defended the July 22 massacre as an act of "self-defense" in his professed civil war, and sat stone-faced as prosecutors described how he killed each of his victims.

But he was gripped by emotion when they showed a video warning of a Muslim takeover of Europe and laden with crusader imagery that he posted on YouTube before the attacks. Suddenly, the self-styled "resistance" fighter's eyes welled up. He cringed his face and wiped away tears with trembling hands.

"Nobody believes that he cried out of pity for the victims," said Mette Yvonne Larsen, a lawyer representing survivors and victims' families in the court proceedings.

Breivik showed no signs of remorse Monday on the first day of a trial that is expected to last 10 weeks. After being uncuffed, he extended his right arm in a clenched-fist salute. He refused to stand when the judges entered the room.

"I don't recognize Norwegian courts because you get your mandate from the Norwegian political parties who support multiculturalism," Breivik said the first time he addressed the court.

The 33-year-old Norwegian also announced he doesn't recognize the authority of Judge Wenche Elisabeth Arntzen because he said she is friends with the sister of former Norwegian Prime Minister and Labor Party leader Gro Harlem Brundtland.

Eight people were killed in Breivik's bombing of Oslo's government district and 69 were slain in his shooting massacre at the left-leaning Labor Party's youth camp on Utoya island outside the capital.

Breivik has said the attacks were necessary to protect Norway from being taken over by Muslims and that he deliberately targeted the governing Labor Party, which he claims has betrayed Norway with liberal immigration policies.

"I admit to the acts, but not criminal guilt," he told the court, insisting he had acted in self-defense.

While Norway has a legal principle of preventive self-defense, that doesn't apply to Breivik's case, said Jarl Borgvin Doerre, a legal expert who has written a book on the concept. "It is obvious that it has nothing to do with preventive self-defense," Doerre told The Associated Press.

The key issue to be resolved during the trial is Breivik's mental state, which will decide whether he is sent to prison or into psychiatric care. Anxious to prove he is not insane, Breivik will call right-wing extremists and radical Islamists to testify during the trial, to show that others also share his view of clashing civilizations.

One mental examination found him legally insane, while another said he wasn't sick enough to be committed to psychiatric care instead of prison. If deemed mentally competent, Breivik would face a maximum prison sentence of 21 years or an alternate custody arrangement under which the sentence is prolonged for as long as an inmate is deemed a danger to society.

Breivik did not appear to have any family or supporters in court. His parents, who are divorced, did not attend the hearing. His father, Jens Breivik, answered when The Associated Press called his home in France on Monday.

"I don't want to comment on anything," he said before hanging up.

Anne Marita Milde, a psychology professor at the University of Bergen, said Breivik's tears during the video show he's not completely "flattened" emotionally — even though they didn't come when you might have expected them.

"He may in many areas be emotionally flattened, that he doesn't display emotion and so on, but it's not all or nothing here — there are facets within behavior," she said.



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