As Norway mourned the victims of Friday's bombing and shooting attacks, Anders Behring Breivik admitted to carrying out the assaults that killed dozens, but did not accept criminal responsibility for them and pleaded not guilty in court. Independent Television News' Carl Dinnen reports from Oslo.
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And we turn to Norway, as that country mourns the victims of Friday’s bombing and shooting attacks, and begins the court process against the killer.
We start with a report from Carl Dinnen of Independent Television News in Oslo.
The man in the red top just about visible in the car park is the killer. Anders Behring Breivik was rushed to and from court with a police escort today. In the backseat, he smiles, looks relaxed. Although Breivik admits the killings, he denies he’s guilty of a crime.
One small mercy today, the police admitted he had shot dead 68 people on the island of Utoya, not 86, as they had originally thought.
OYSTEIN MAELAND, Norwegian Police:
The police and other rescue personnel had a very demanding task on the island just after they arrived. And it was necessary to give priority to those who were injured, and to secure the whole area. In these complex situations, the number of deaths first reported were too high.
Speaking from France today, Breivik’s estranged father said he wished his son had killed himself.
In Oslo, hundreds had gathered outside the courthouse. But the court ruled that the remand hearing would be heard in closed session.
What are the reasons for holding a closed hearing today?
GEIR ENGEBRETSEN, Oslo District Court:
It’s because of the needs for the further investigation and also the security questions in this very, very special matter.
But after the short hearing, the judge emerged to relay, through his translator, Breivik’s first explanation for his murderous actions.
“The accused explained that the Labor Party has failed the country and the people, and the price of their treason was what they had to pay yesterday.
The operation was not to kill as many people as possible, but to give a strong signal that cannot be misunderstood, that as long as the Labor Party keeps driving its ideological line and keeps deconstructing Norwegian culture and mass importing Muslims, then they must assume responsibility for this treason. And any person with a conscience cannot allow its country to be colonized by Muslims” — end of quote.
In court, Breivik also claimed there were two more cells in his organization. While the police investigate his claims, he has been remanded in solitary confinement for the next eight weeks.
A short time earlier, at 12 noon Oslo time, there was a minute’s silence. Norway’s king, queen and prime minister led the act of remembrance from the steps of the university.
In Oslo, the trams stood still. Near Utoya, the rescue workers paused. And across Scandinavia, the moment was marked. Then, by the field of flowers at the cathedral, some people began to sing the words of a famous poem written for the young people of Norway.