Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik gave a Nazi salute on Tuesday as he entered court for a parole hearing that will decide whether he should be released after spending more than a decade behind bars.
Breivik, a far-Right extremist, killed 77 people in Norway’s worst peacetime atrocity in July 2011. He killed eight with a car bomb in Oslo and then gunned down 69, most of them teenagers, at a Labour Party youth camp.
With a shaven head and dressed in a dark suit, Breivik made a white supremacist sign with his fingers before raising his right arm in a Nazi salute to signal his far-Right ideology as he entered the court.
He also carried homemade signs printed in English with the words: “Stop your genocide against our white nations” and “Nazi-Civil-War”.
When asked to introduce himself to the court, he described himself, among other things, as “Party Secretary for the Nordic State”, before being stopped by the judge, Dag Bjorvik.
“Our position is that it is necessary with (continued) confinement to protect society,” Hulda Karlsdottir, the public prosecutor, told Reuters ahead of the hearing.
When Ms Karlsdottir began making her introductory arguments as to why Breivik should remain in prison, he began to display his posters, causing the judge to intervene.
“Breivik, stop with those posters,” Mr Bjorvik said. “I do not want that during the prosecutor’s introductory speech.”
Breivik, now 42, has changed his legal name to Fjotolf Hansen but will be referred to throughout court proceedings by his former name. He is serving Norway’s maximum sentence of 21 years, which can be extended indefinitely if he is deemed a continued threat to society.
The Telemark court in Skien, southwest of the capital, where Breivik is serving his sentence, will hear the case this week after the Oslo state prosecutor’s office last year rejected Breivik’s application for early release.
Proceedings will take place over a maximum of four days in a prison gymnasium converted into a makeshift courtroom, with a decision expected about a week later.
Randi Rosenqvist, a prison psychiatrist, who has been called as one of the witnesses in the hearing, told the newspaper Verdens Gang that her assessment had not changed since 2013 when she found Breivik “would again be able to carry out acts of violence if he found it opportune”.
“I can confirm that the conclusions previously made public are not significantly different from those that have been made now,” she said.
Breivik will be given two hours to make his own case as to why he should be released.
He has called Par Oberg, a leading Swedish neo-Nazi, to testify for him at the parole hearing.
Mr Oberg, one of the leading figures in the militant neo-Nazi Nordic Resistance Movement, was last year found guilty of committing hate crimes after he was recorded on film chanting “Hell Seger!”, the Swedish version of the Nazi slogan “Sieg Heil!”.
If Breivik’s request for release is denied, he can apply for a new probation hearing in a year’s time, Ms Karlsdottir said.
Breivik’s re-emergence in the public eye five years after his last court case is painful for the friends and relatives of the people he killed, particularly as his parole requests are now likely to be renewed every one-and-a-half years for at least the next decade.
“Every time this crops up, it will be a great strain for all those that this happened to,” Lisbeth Royneland, whose daughter Synne would have celebrated her 29th birthday on Tuesday, told Norway’s state broadcaster NRK.
Breivik has three cells to himself in the high-security wing of Skien prison. The cells are equipped with video game consoles, a television, a DVD player, electronic typewriter, newspapers and exercise machines. He also has daily access to a larger exercise yard.
The mass murderer lost a human rights case in 2017 when an appeals court overturned the decision of a lower court that his near-isolation was inhumane. The European Court of Human Rights rejected a subsequent appeal
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