(Photo: Reuters / Wolfgang Rattay)
The prime suspect in Norway’s killing spree will appear in court on Monday, but denies any criminal responsibility for the terror attacks that killed at least 93 people, according to Norwegian authorities today.
Anders Behring Breivik has confessed to the bombing in Oslo and the mass shooting at a youth camp on Utoya island, but he is expected to plead not guilty when he appears in court despite telling his lawyer the atrocities had been "gruesome but necessary.”
He said he "wanted to start a revolution in Norwegian society to defeat liberal immigration policies and the spread of Islam," Norwegian investigators said.
Despite the mass killing spree, the maximum sentence Breivik could be handed by a court is just 21 years.
The Telegraph reports today that many are outraged at Norway's law that would allow Breivik to be released from prison as early as 2021.
A prisoner is required to spend at least 10 years in custody before becoming eligible for parole.
However, Norway's penal system states that a prisoner serving an indeterminate sentence must show they are no longer a danger to society before being granted parole.
Officials said the nature and gravity of Breivik’s crimes suggest he would always be considered a risk.
Defense lawyer Geir Lippestad told reporters that Breivik believes his actions were “atrocious” but necessary to bring about a “revolution” in Norwegian society.
Lippestad also said the suspect wants to explain his motives in court.
"He thought it was gruesome having to commit these acts, but in his head they were necessary," Breivik's lawyer, Geir Lippestad, told the Norwegian broadcaster NRK.
Police say Breivik claims to have acted alone and evidence so far backs up that claim.
Norway is still struggling to come to terms with the attacks, which came within two hours of each other on Friday afternoon.
Norway's NRK television said a person wounded in the shooting died Sunday, raising the death toll on Utoya to 86. The car bomb killed seven people.
Breivik is suspected of setting off the fertilizer bomb that heavily damaged the prime minister's office building, before traveling to Utoya and firing at participants in a youth camp organized by the ruling Labor Party.
The Guardian reports that European security sources confirmed they were investigating claims that Breivik and other far-right individuals attended the inaugural meeting of the far-right Knights Templar group in London in 2002.
The Knights Templar is an organization referred to by Breivik in a 1,500-page manifesto published online hours before he began his killing spree.
The admission from Breivik in the manifesto is that he had been planning the attacks since 2009. It has raised concerns over the intelligence capabilities of the Norwegian authorities. In the manifesto he expresses surprise that he has not been "flagged up" for suspicious activities, according to The Guardian.
His rants also include vows to take revenge against European liberal elites whom he accuses of betraying their Christian heritage by promoting multiculturalism.
James Brandon, research head at London's Quilliam think tank, told reporters that "the horrific events in Norway are a reminder that white far-right extremism is also a major and possibly growing threat."
Meanwhile, Norway Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg spoke at a memorial service Sunday, telling hundreds of mourners that gathered at Oslo Cathedral that Norway has suffered a “national tragedy” in which the victims were known to many people, including himself.
Norwegian King Harald and Queen Sonja also attended the emotional service.
Outside, tearful Norwegians brought flowers and candles to pay tribute to those killed.