Apr 18, 2012 Comments Off Pat Dollard
OSLO, Norway (AP) — An irritated Anders Behring Breivik refused to answer prosecutors’ questions Wednesday about the anti-Muslim militant group he claims to belong to, as his trial on terror charges for the massacre of 77 people entered its third day.
Prosecutors have said they believe Breivik’s so-called “Knights Templar” group doesn’t exist “in the way he describes it.” Breivik insists it does, and said police just hadn’t done a good enough job in uncovering it.
“It is not in my interest to shed light on details that could lead to arrests,” he said.
The issue is of key importance in determining Breivik’s sanity, and whether he’s sent to prison or compulsory psychiatric care for the bomb-and-shooting massacre that shocked Norway on July 22.
Breivik claims to have carried out the attacks on behalf of the organization, which he described in a 1,500-page compendium he posted online before the attacks as a militant nationalist group fighting a Muslim colonization of Europe.
Prosecutor Inga Bejer Engh pressed the 33-year-old Norwegian about details on the group, its members and its meetings. Breivik claimed to have met a Serb “war hero” living in exile during a trip to Liberia in 2002, but he refused to identify him.
“What is it you’re getting at?” Breivik told the prosecutor, then answered the question himself, saying prosecutors want to “sow doubt over whether the KT network exists.”
The main point of his defense is to avoid an insanity ruling, which would deflate his political arguments.
One psychiatric evaluation found him psychotic and “delusional,” while another found him mentally competent to be sent to prison.
If found sane, Breivik could face a maximum 21-year prison sentence or an alternate custody arrangement that would keep him locked up as long as he is considered a menace to society. If declared insane he would be committed to psychiatric care for as long as he’s considered ill.
Breivik also refused to give details on what he claims was the founding session of the “Knights Templar” in London in 2002. He conceded, however, that he embellished somewhat in the manifesto when he described the other three members at the founding session as “brilliant political and military tacticians of Europe.”
Breivik testified that he had used “pompous” language and described them instead as “four people with great integrity.”
Bejer Engh challenged him on whether the meeting had taken place at all.
“Yes, there was a meeting in London,” Breivik insisted.
“It’s not something you have made up?” Engh countered.
“I haven’t made up anything. What is in the compendium is correct,” he said.
Later, he answered with more nuance.
“There is nothing that is made up, but you have to see what is written in a context. It is a glorification of certain ideals,” Breivik said.
Breivik admits he set off a bomb outside the government headquarters in Oslo, killing eight, then drove to Utoya island outside the capital and massacred 69 people in a shooting spree at the governing Labor Party’s youth summer camp on Utoya island. On Tuesday he boasted that it was the most “spectacular” attack by a nationalist militant since World War II.
He said his victims — mostly teenagers — were not innocent but legitimate targets because they were representatives of a “multiculturalist” regime he claims is deconstructing Norway’s national identity by allowing immigration.