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Dramatic end to ‘ten weeks of hell’

Tears, applause and a silent protest from those most traumatized by Anders Behring Brevik’s terrorist attacks marked the end of his 10-week trial in Oslo on Friday. Breivik himself was also allowed to make a final statement, in which he marveled that no other right-wing nationalists had carried out attacks like his earlier.

NOW IT'S UP TO THEM, judges Wenche Elizabeth Arntzen and Arne Lyng, who'll lead deliberations of the five-member judicial panel that needs to agree on how the state should react to Anders Behring Breivik's attacks of July 22. Arntzen announced at the end of his 10-week trial on Friday that their verdict will be presented on August 24. PHOTO: NRK screen grab/Views and News

Survivors and families of Breivik’s victims didn’t want to listen to him on Friday afternoon, and let it be known. When Judge Wenche Elizabeth Arntzen said he could start speaking, many of the most affected spectators sitting in the courtroom stood up and walked out, refusing to even look at Breivik on their way out.

“We were just showing the disgust we feel for everything he’s done against us,” said Trond Henry Blattmann, leader of a victims’ support group whose own son was killed in Breivik’s massacre at a Labour Party summer camp on July 22. Blattmann and John Hestnes, leader of the support group for those killed and injured in Breivik’s bombing of Norway’s government headquarters the same day, told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) that it was important for those most affected by the attacks to demonstrate how they feel about Breivik.

“We didn’t have to listen to that man,” Blattmann told NRK, adding that he thinks Breivik has had “more than enough” opportunity to explain his attacks. Blattmann described the trial, which began on April 16, as “10 weeks of hell.”

Five representatives of survivors and victims’ families had been allowed to make statements themselves before Breivik. One of them, the mother of a young woman killed in the bombing, sparked spontaneous applause in the courtroom when she claimed that “this man (Breivik) doesn’t scare me. He’ll be locked up during my time (on earth). Now we’ll have vacation. I wish everyone here could.”

Even Judge Arntzen was seen wiping away a tear, but while many others left the courtroom and claimed they’re now “finished” with Breivik, she needed to stay with the rest of the judicial panel and lawyers in the case and listen to him. It is a defendant’s right in Norway to make a closing statement, he’d asked for an hour and he received it.

Terror defendant Anders Behring Breivik, speaking with one of his defense attorneys at the end of his 10-week trial. His bombing and massacre killed 77 persons on July 22 last year. He demanded to be acquitted on Friday, saying his attacks were necessary to protect "my people, my culture, my land" from the influence of Islam. PHOTO: NRK screen grab/Views and News

Breivik referred to the events of July 22 as “barbaric” but a necessary part of his battle to halt immigration, especially by Muslims. He started off by stressing that “35 of the 37” medical personnel who have examined him have found no symptoms of psychosis. He claims he’s sane, just terribly frustrated by the lack of public support for whom he calls “ultra-nationalists” and “cultural conservatives.” He thinks “fundamental change” is needed within the leadership of Norway and Europe to prevent the spread of Islam.

He listed a number of complaints against Norway’s Labour Party, accusing it of being rooted in communism, of sending cultural conservatives to psychiatric institutions after World War II and even claiming that both Labour Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg and his father, former Foreign Minister Thorvald Stoltenberg, both had code names with the KGB. He also accused Labour of “mass murder” for promoting abortion rights in Norway.

While NRK reported how his defense attorneys leaned back in their chairs and looked down at the table as he spoke, Breivik claimed that “all nationalists who have followed developments” are “amazed” there hadn’t been any attacks like his before July 22. He claimed his “brothers” in the Islamic, multi-cultural “resistance movement” are following his case while they plan new attacks. He also claimed his judges will be judged themselves, while they stared right at him.

He offered a “peace proposal,” that ultra-nationalists be allowed to set up “states within the state” so that cultural Marxists won’t need to fear more attacks and the nationalists would be allowed to avoid living in “a multi-cultural hell.”

The worst thing about his current situation, Breivik noted, isn’t the “demonization” he feels. Rather, he said, “the worst of all is to be ignored.” He didn’t elaborate on what he felt as dozens of people turned their backs on him and left the courtroom on Friday.

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund

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