Judge Orders Closed Hearing for Norway Massacre Suspect

Posted July 25th, 2011 at 6:45 am (UTC-5)
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A judge in Norway has ruled the first court appearance for the suspect in Friday's massacre will be held behind closed doors.

The judge said Monday the public and media will be barred from the proceedings, which the suspect had requested to be open in order to explain his motives.

Anders Behring Breivik faces terrorism charges for allegedly bombing the prime minister's office building in Oslo, then shooting participants at a youth camp in Utoeya. Officials have said the attacks killed 93 people, but police in Norway said Monday the number could be revised downward.

Breivik's lawyer says his client confessed to both attacks, but denies committing any crime. The attorney says Breivik believes his actions were “atrocious” but necessary to bring about a “revolution” in Norwegian society.

Prosecutors said Monday they will also ask that Breivik be held for a period of eight weeks, instead of the typical four weeks allowed before a judge has to renew a suspect's detention.

Just before Friday's attack, Breivik published a long rant on the Internet. He raved about what he calls the Islamisation of Europe through Muslim immigration. He vowed to take revenge against liberals, accusing them of betraying Christianity by promoting multiculturalism.

Friday's attack shattered Norway, which has not experienced such violence since the Nazi occupation of World War II.

Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg said Norway has suffered a national tragedy. He led a memorial service Sunday at Oslo Cathedral. Mourners included King Harald and Queen Sonja. Many of those in the cathedral, including the king and queen, wept openly. Tearful Norwegians laid flowers and candles outside the cathedral.