The Norway gunman who killed 77 people in twin attacks in July asked an Oslo court on Monday to release him immediately, saying his massacre was a “preventive attack against state traitors.”
“I do not accept imprisonment. I demand to be immediately released,” Anders Behring Breivik, a 32-year-old right-wing extremist, told the Oslo court that was convened for a hearing on his detention.
Hollow laughter erupted in the rows where survivors and families of the victims were seated, when Breivik twice demanded his immediate release.
Wearing a dark suit and pale blue tie, Breivik entered the courtroom and touched his heart with his handcuffed fists, then lifted them straight out toward those seated in the courtroom, in what his lawyer Geir Lippestad explained was a “right-wing salute.”
The July 22 massacre was “a preventive attack against state traitors” and committed to “defend the ethnic Norwegian population,” he told the court.
“We in the Norwegian movement will not sit and see that we are made a minority in our own country,” the anti-Islam fanatic told a packed courtroom in only his second public comments since the attack in July.
“The attacks on the government headquarters were preventive attacks on people committing cultural destruction of Norwegian culture and Norwegian ethnicity,” he said.
Breivik, who claims to be on a crusade against multi-culturalism and the “Muslim invasion” of Europe, set off a car bomb outside government buildings in Oslo on July 22, killing eight people.
He then went to Utoeya island, some 40 kilometers (25 miles) northwest of Oslo, and, dressed as a police officer, spent more than an hour methodically shooting and killing another 69 people, mainly teens, attending a summer camp hosted by the ruling Labor Party’s youth wing.
“I acknowledge the acts but I plead not guilty,” said Breivik, whose attacks were the worst outburst of violence in Norway since World War Two.
His trial is due to open on April 16.
A first psychiatric evaluation conducted last year found that Breivik was criminally insane. A second opinion is expected by April 10, and if it confirms the first diagnosis he will likely be sentenced to closed psychiatric care instead of prison.