The man accused of killing dozens of people -- many of them teenagers -- in dual terror attacks in Norway gave what was described as a fascist salute in court today before saying he deserves a "medal of honor" for the 2011 massacre.
Anders Breivik, a 32-year-old right-wing extremist who has repeatedly confessed to the July 22 bombing in Oslo followed by a shooting spree at a nearby youth summer camp that killed 77 people, reportedly smirked as he appeared in a Norwegian court today for a scheduled detention hearing. Approximately 100 survivors and family members of victims of the attacks were in the court audience.
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During the hearing, Breivik was photographed with both arms raised in what his attorney told The Associated Press was "some kind of right-wing extremist greeting." He then told the judge he should be released from custody and said he deserved the military medal for his work against his country's "traitors" in the fight against the "Islamic colonization of Norway." Breivik claimed that the terror attacks were "preventative" moves and said he acted in cultural self-defense.
"Ethnic Norwegians will become the minority in 10 years in Oslo," Breivik reportedly said.
Despite his confessions, Breivik has said he is not guilty of any crime. Breivik's attorney, Geir Lippestad, said such statements could foreshadow what's to come when Breivik goes on trial for terrorism charges in April.
In a 1,500-page online manifesto posted just before he launched his attacks, Breivik apparently wrote that he was just one operative in the beginning of a violent Christian conservative revolution in Europe led by a group called the new Knights Templar. Breivik had planned on a 60-plus year struggle against mutliculturalism until the Knights would take control over Europe, the manifesto said.
The meticulous manifesto detailed Breivik's years-long preparations for the attack and presents an academic-style argument against what he called multicultural Marxism and Islamic colonization. In it, he says being arrested is all part of the plan.
"Your arrest will mark the initiation of the propaganda phase," Breivik writes. "Your trial offers you a stage to the world."
A 16-year-old survivor of the shooting said he was disappointed Breivik has been allowed to spread his message in court hearings.
"It wasn't good that he got to say what he wanted to say," Amel Baltic told the AP today. "It made me irritated."
Breivik was declared mentally insane by court-appointed doctors in November. A second evaluation was ordered, but Breivik reportedly refused to cooperate with the psychiatrists.
Previously, Breivik had demanded to be examined by Japanese specialists because they "understand the idea of values of honor." He has also demanded from jail the complete overthrow of the Norwegian government and a key role in the reconstruction of society.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.