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Monday, June 24, 2024

Gunman returns to his crime scene

UPDATED: Bomber and gunman Anders Behring Breivik was taken back over the weekend to the island where he terrorized hundreds of Labour Party summer campers last month, shooting and killing 69 persons before his massacre ended. This time Breivik was under heavy police escort, as they attempted to reconstruct the crime scene as part of their ongoing investigation.

Police told reporters on Sunday said that Breivik was “calm” and “cooperative” during Saturday’s return to the island in the Tyri Fjord called Utøya. Police spokesman and prosecutor Pål Fredrik Kraby said Breivik offered detailed information about his shooting spree, and still gave no indication of regret. Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) was among media that carried the press conference live on Sunday afternoon.

Kraby did say, however, that Breivik appeared somewhat “bothered” by being back on Utøya. Breivik’s defense attorney later told NRK on Norway’s national nightly news program Dagsrevyen that Breivik has conceded that his murderous acts were “gruesome,” but nonetheless “necessary” because Breivik still thinks he had to launch a war against the multi-cultural forces that he feels threaten Europe and Norway. That, his attorney suggested, can explain Breivik’s lack of regret for carrying out mass-murder on July 22. A total of 77 persons died in the massacre and his bombing of government headquarters in Oslo.

‘Relatively intense’
Kraby described the return to the mass-murder scene as part of the questioning to which Breivik is being subjected.

“The questioning began as soon as the defendant came to Utvika (the mainland gateway to Utøya),” Kraby said. “It continued in the boat back from Utøya. There was a break in between, but it was relatively intense. There were many spectators, but the questioning wasn’t disturbed in any way.”

He said police had feared a large turnout by the press and many spectators, but indicated the turnout was manageable and “we could carry out the questioning well.”

Kraby said the date for the return to Utøya was chosen because questioning at the crime scene needed to be completed by August 19, when the island is due to be released back to the Labour Party’s youth organization AUF. Kraby also cited “other logistical concerns.”

Wore a harness
Breivik was under heavy guard during the entire session on the island, which lasted for eight hours. He was placed in a harness so guards had full control over his movements as they walked around the island.

Kraby said it was “correct” to return to the scene of the mass murder and that “many important details” emerged from the session, which was filmed for later use in court. An attorney for some of the victims’ families said she could understand the police’s need to reconstruct the crime scene, but she criticized newspaper VG’s decision to publish photos of Breivik on the island, including one that portrayed him showing police how he took aim and fired. Survivors and victims’ families, she said, found the photos profoundly disturbing.

Breivik is charged with bombing Norway’s government headquarters in downtown Oslo on the afternoon of July 22, causing massive destruction and killing eight persons, before he moved on to Utøya with the reported intention of killing the next generation of Labour Party politicians. Breivik, who has described himself as a Christian fighting a war against Muslims, has said he holds Labour responsible for Norway’s emergence as a multi-cultural society.

Norway’s national period of mourning will officially end next Sunday, August 21, with a memorial ceremony at the Oslo Spektrum arena, after which survivors of the massacre will also be allowed to return to Utøya if they wish.

For a rundown of our coverage of the terror that hit Norway on July 22, see our ALL STORIES feature.

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund
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