Krekar’s counsel surprised by pending Breivik summons

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The defense attorney for Mullah Krekar, who’s been declared a threat to Norway’s national security, says he’s surprised Krekar may be called as a witness in the upcoming trial of confessed terrorist Anders Behring Breivik. Two other Islamic extremists, Arfan Bhatti and Mohyeldeen Mohammad, may be called as well.

“At first I thought this will lead to a circus that (the Breivik case) doesn’t deserve,” Krekar’s defense attorney, Brynjar Meling, told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK). But Meling also said that he can see some relevance in having Krekar, Bhatti and Mohammad testify about their own extreme views. He also said that if Krekar is summoned, his client will need to appear in court like anyone else. Krekar is currently awaiting a court verdict of his own on charges he made death threats against a former Norwegian government minister.

Other terrorists not deemed insane
The pending summons of Krekar, Bhatti and Mohammad is tied to Breivik’s claim that he is not insane. Krekar, Bhatti and Mohammad have extreme views as do many terrorists who have been behind mass murders, yet none of them has been declared insane as Breivik has. “It’s thought-provoking that several of them have quite extreme views, with neither the media nor others questioning their sanity,” one of Breivik’s defense attorneys, Vibeke Hein Bæra, told NRK.

Bæra said there were several other reasons why she and her colleagues are considering calling Krekar, Bhatti and Mohammad to testify at the trial set to begin on April 16.

“Breivik has expressed that Norway will be taken over by Muslims,” Bæra said, noting how he’s said his bombing and massacre on July 22 were meant to draw attention to the Muslim threat and halt Norway’s development into a multi-cultural society. She claimed that “several” of those who may be summoned have sent the same message, that Europe is at war against Muslims, thus “showing that Breivik is not alone in his beliefs, that his fear can thus be founded, also that he did what he did to save Norway.”

Need to ‘shed light’ on the case
Bæra said she can understand that some may react negatively to calling Krekar, Bhatti and Mohammad into Brevik’s trial. “But as (Brevik’s) defense counsel, we are obligated to call in those who can shed light on the issues,” she said.

Meling said he could see some reasons for calling in Krekar as well. “It could be relevant to shed light on the ideological thinking that is extreme on both sides,” Meling told NRK.  “And that (their ideology) doesn’t necessarily mean they’re insane.”

Bæra said she and her colleagues also want to call in forensic psychiatrists from both inside and outside Norway, in an effort to convince the court that Breivik is not insane. Breivik himself denies he is either psychotic or suffering from paranoid schizophrenia, as court-appointed psychiatrists earlier have determined.

Prosecutors, meanwhile, may call Breivik’s mother and some of his former friends to testify on how they viewed him before he unleashed is attacks on July 22. Defense counsel has indicated they’re interested in assessments of Breivik from those who knew him as well.

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund

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