Right-wing extremist Anders Breivik, who killed 76 ,claims to be part of an organisation with 'cells all over Europe', court in Oslo is told.
Norwegian killer alleges Europe-wide terror network
A lawyer for the right-wing extremist who has confessed to killing at least 76 people told a Norwegian court yesterday that his client says he is part of an organisation with cells all over Europe.
Judge Kim Heger denied Anders Behring Breivik, 32, a Christian fundamentalist with a deep hatred of Islam, the public platform he craved, and ruled that yesterday's hearing should be held in private.
Afterwards the judge said Breivik had denied criminal charges and claimed he needed to carry out the attacks to save Norway and western Europe from a Muslim takeover.
The court was told that Breivik claimed his network had two more cells and his intention had been to send "strong signals" to the Norwegian people.
According to the English translation of Judge Heger's ruling that was read after the hearing: "The operation was not to kill as many people as possible but to give a strong signal that could not be misunderstood that as long as the Labour Party keeps … mass importing Muslims they must assume responsibility for this treason."
Breivik's lawyer, Geir Lippestad, says his client has gone further, claiming to be part of an organisation with "cells all over Europe". Mr Lippestad said Breivik also insists he acted alone, though "it is impossible to assess the credibility of those claims".
Part of the focus of the inquiry shifted from Norway yesterday as police raided Breivik's father's home in France and British investigators tried to trace like-minded individuals Breivik says he met.
In a 1,500-page online tract explaining his self-styled "martyrdom operation" to combat Muslim "colonisation" of Europe, Breivik appears to have been plotting his crimes by meeting other far-right figures in London nine years ago.
He mentioned an English "mentor" he refers to only as Richard.
Scotland Yard's domestic extremism unit is trying to identify seven others present at the meeting. In the southern French village of Cournanel, near Limoux, gendarmes searched the home of Breivik's father, Jens, 76, a retired diplomat.
Jens Breivik has issued a statement expressing "absolute horror" at the atrocities and insists he has had no contact with his son since the mid-1990s. It was not immediately clear whether any material of use to the investigation was found.
His son's court appearance came soon after much of Norway observed a minute's silence in honour of the dead.
Anders Brievik arrived at the court in Oslo yesterday under heavy guard. Hundreds of journalists and onlookers were outside, and some people banged on the side of the armoured vehicle carrying him. Spectators shouted: "You have betrayed our country."
Brievik had let it be known through his lawyer that he wished to appear in military uniform and explain his actions, which he has said were atrocious but necessary. Even before Friday's attacks, he had described his eventual trial as a "propaganda phase" of the struggle he claims to be waging.
In a statement explaining the decision to exclude press and public, Judge Heger said: "It is clear that there is concrete information that a public hearing with the suspect present could quickly lead to an extraordinary and very difficult situation in terms of the investigation and security."
Breivik will be kept in isolation for half the eight-week period of initial detention, which is expected to be extended until prosecution and defence are ready for trial. He will not be permitted to write letters and only his lawyers will be able to visit him.
The charges of multiple murder that Breivik is ultimately likely to face carry a maximum sentence, if he is convicted, of 21 years' imprisonment.
However, the term can be extended as long as he is considered a threat to public safety, potentially keeping him in custody for the rest of his life.
In further published extracts from his internet message, which appeared a few hours before the attacks began, Breivik recognised how he would be portrayed: "I will be labelled as the biggest Nazi-monster ever witnessed since WW2."
The rambling manifesto, signed with an anglicised version of his name, Andrew Berwick, and datelined London 2011, coincided with the posting of a 12-minute YouTube clip on his theme of Europe becoming overrun by Muslims.
Within a few hours, he had carried out his bombing of government offices in Oslo, killing eight people, and inflicted massive bloodshed at a youth camp on the island of Utoeya, 38km outside the capital.
The killer's actions, as described by survivors of the massacre and predicted in the internet manifesto, owed nothing to accident. He is said to have marauded through the camp opening fire on all moving objects.
Writing about his choice of weapons, Breivik wrote: "I would rather have preferred a Ruger Mini 30, but I already own a 7.62 bolt rifle and it is likely that the police wouldn't grant me a similar calibre. On the application form I stated 'hunting deer'. It would have been tempting to just write the truth; 'executing category A and B cultural Marxists/multiculturalist traitors' just to see their reaction."
He signed off with the words "sincere and patriotic regards", presenting himself as a "Justiciar Knight Commander for Knights Templar Europe and one of several leaders of the National and pan-European Patriotic Resistance Movement". The assistance of "brothers and sisters" in the US, the UK, the rest of Scandinavia and several other western nations was also noted.
* With additional reporting from Associated Press and Bloomberg News