A man threw a shoe at Norwegian mass killer Anders Behring Breivik during his trial on Friday, the first time the trial has been interrupted by a public outburst of protest.
“Go to hell, go to hell,” screamed the person sitting in the second row, after throwing a shoe towards Breivik sitting a few meters away, Norwegian newspaper VG reported on its website.
The shoe hit Breivik’s defense lawyer.
The incident was followed by applause, “bravos” and tears among onlookers in the courtroom, led to a temporary suspension of proceedings on the 17th day of the trial.
The attacker, a man of Iraqi origin whose brother was one of the 69 people Breivik killed on July 22, was quickly brought under control by security guards and escorted out of the courtroom as he continued to shout in English: “Go to Hell!”
Breivik has been charged with committing terrorist acts when he first bombed a government building in Oslo, killing eight people, before heading out to Utoeya to massacre 69 mostly teenage participants at an AUF summer camp.
He has confessed to the acts but has refused to plead guilty, insisting the twin attacks were “cruel but necessary” to stop the Labor Party’s “multicultural experiment” and the “Muslim invasion” of Norway and Europe.
Although he is certain to be found guilty, his 10-week trial should determine the question of his sanity.
If the court finds him sane, Breivik will face Norway’s maximum 21-year prison sentence, but that term can be extended for as long as he is considered a threat to society.
If he is found criminally insane however, he will be sent to a closed psychiatric care unit for treatment.
That is a fate Breivik, who is intent upon showing that his anti-Islam ideology is not the ravings of a lunatic, has described as “worse than death”.
Five judges will decide whether he should be considered sane or not when they hand down their verdict in mid-July.