herald

Thursday 17 January 2019

Norwegian killer sticks to bizarre Knights claim

CONFESSED Norwegian mass killer Anders Behring Breivik is sticking to his claim of belonging to a militant order of the Knights Templar, even though police have found no evidence it exists, his lawyer said.

The 32-year-old, arrested after a car bombing and shooting massacre that killed 77 people on July 22, claims he was the youngest member of the anti-Muslim militia at its supposed creation in London in 2002.

Breivik has told police that many of the other members are war-hardened former fighters from Serbia, the lawyer said.

"Both the police and I are using a lot of resources," to investigate those claims, he said.

Police say they believe Breivik acted alone when he set off the car bomb that killed eight people in Oslo's government district and then opened fire at a Labour Party youth camp on Utoya island, killing 69.

But his claim of a mysterious crusader network puzzles police because Breivik appears to have been truthful about other aspects of the attacks.



sadistic

Breivik has said he carried out the attacks alone. But police prosecutor Christian Hatlo said the main priority of the investigation remains to find out if Breivik had any accomplices.

"It does not appear very likely, but it is too early to draw conclusions," Mr Hatlo said.

Breivik, who surrendered to police after the massacre at Utoya, confessed to the attacks but denies terrorism charges, saying he is in a state of war.

In a rambling manifesto distributed online, Breivik said the Knights Templar will overthrow European governments and expel Muslim immigrants in a civil war culminating in 2083.

Breivik claims he was not targeting children at the camp on Utoya, but adults aged 18-24 that he viewed as future leaders of the Labour Party. The youngest victim was 14.

"He says he has a concept of honour. He is at war, and when he is at war he does not want to kill children," Mr Lippestad said during the interview in Oslo.

But Breivik, who is undergoing a psychiatric evaluation, is showing no remorse.

"He expressed that he would have done the same thing today," Mr Lippestad said. "He realises he is being demonised but (believes) the war and his cause take precedence."

Breivik's next pre-trial hearing is set for September 19, and is likely to be held behind closed doors, like previous hearings.

He is being held in isolation -- which he has described as "a sadistic torture method" -- though he has access to books, movies and a computer that is not connected to the internet.

The actual trial is not expected to start until next year, and Mr Lippestad said he and Breivik will request it be open to the public.

"It is historically important," Mr Lippestad said.

hnews@herald.ie

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