Breivik trial comes to an end | News | DW | 22.06.2012
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Breivik trial comes to an end

Survivors and relatives of 77 people killed in bombing and shooting attacks in Norway left the court room as the killer, Anders Behring Breivik, made his final remarks. The trial has focused on Breivik’s mental health.

More than 30 people staged a walkout at the Oslo district court when the judge announced that Breivik was about to speak at the end of his trial.

"He has a right to talk. We have no duty to listen," Christian Bjelland, the vice chair of the support group for survivors of the July 22 attacks and victims's families told the NTB news agency.

Breivik told the court his twin bombing and shooting attacks were "barbaric," and argued that he was sane, as he has throughout the trial.

He asked the court to acquit him, saying his actions had been aimed at protecting Norway from becoming a "multiculturalist hell."

Prior to Breivik's closing speech, two survivors of the attacks and three bereaved gave their testimony.

Their words were often received with applause.

Breivik a "terrorist"

Breivik's defense earlier also argued that Breivik was sane and driven by his extreme political views.

His actions were "based on extremism," not psychotic delusions or an uncontrollable urge to violence, Geir Lippestad, Breivik's primary attorney, insisted.

The defense requested acquittal - a formal necessity, as Breivik has pleaded not guilty, despite having confessed to killing eight in car-bomb attack on government buildings in Oslo on July 22, 2011, followed by the methodic shooting deaths of 69 people, most of them teenagers, at a Norwegian Labour Party youth camp on Utoya island.

As there was no doubt that he carried out the attacks, Breivik's trial, which began on April 16, focused on the question of whether or not he is sane. Psychiatric evaluations of Breivik's mental health have sharply contradicted each other, with two court-appointed expert teams reaching opposite conclusions.

The prosecution has called on the five judges to send Breivik to a closed psychiatric ward, arguing that his sanity had not been proved beyond a reasonable doubt. "Our request is that he be obliged to undergo psychiatric treatment," attorney Svein Holden said, wrapping up the prosecution's three-hour closing arguments on Thursday.

For his part, Breivik has sought to establish that his far-right anti-Islamic ideology is not merely the fruits of insanity. He has said that court-ordered psychiatric confinement would be "a fate worse than death," and vowed not to appeal a guilty verdict if he were found sane.

If the judges do find Breivik criminally sane, they could sentence him to Norway's harshest penalty: 21 years in prison with the possibility of extending the sentence for as long as he is considered a danger to society. The verdict date has been set as August 24.

mkg/tj/rg (AP, AFP)