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Saturday, April 13, 2024

Breivik challenged his witnesses

Terror defendant Anders Behring Breivik challenged witnesses testifying against him as his trial continued in an Oslo courtroom this week. More autopsy reports were being examined on Thursday.

Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) reported how Breivik interrupted the testimony of one of the private boat owners who tried to rescue terrified youngsters as they desperately swam away from the island. Oddvar Hansen had described how Breivik shot at his small boat while Hansen tried to pluck those fleeing out of the chilly waters around the island of Utoya.

Breivik referred to his targets, mostly young Labour Party members attending a summer camp on the island, as “political extremists” but claimed he was only trying to scare them by firing at boats like Hansen’s. “If I’d wanted to, I could have shot them,” Breivik claimed, referring to rescuers in the boats. “But I viewed them as civilians.”

Breivik also wanted to question Tonje Brenna, secretary general of the Labour youth group AUF, which was Breivik’s main target. Brenna survived Breivik’s massacre and gave her version of the events of July 22, when Breivik carried out his attacks.

Breivik directly addressed Judge Wenche Elizabeth Arntzen when he said he wanted to question Brenna about her ideology, claiming that he thought he could both question and comment on witnesses’ testimony. Arntzen told him he could only pose questions through his defense attorney, prompting Breivik to ask if he could pose questions if he had no defense attorneys.

Some Norwegian media interpreted that as an indication of tension between Breivik and his defense counsel, but defense attorney Vibeke Hein Baera disagreed. She thinks Breivik’s challenges were more an attempt by the defendant to express himself.

The autopsy reports of another dozen of Breivik’s victims were presented in detail to the court on Thursday. Breivik killed 77 persons on July 22, 69 on the island and eight in his bombing of government headquarters in Oslo.

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