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Norway gun and bomb attack accused denied public court hearing

Meanwhile, Polish authorities have launched an investigation into a possible link with the Oslo bombing.

People in Oslo stand by floral tributes to the victims of Friday's attacks.
People in Oslo stand by floral tributes to the victims of Friday's attacks.
Image: AP Photo/Matt Dunham

Updated at 13:35

THE MAN WHO admitted responsibility for Friday’s gun and bomb attacks which killed at least 93 people in Norway is in court today for the first time.

Anders Behring Breivik, 32, denies criminal responsibility but has confessed to carrying out both attacks. He says he acted alone and requested a public hearing for today’s court appearance so that he could explain his actions. Yesterday, his lawyer Geir Lippestad said Breivik had described his actions as “gruesome but necessary”.

Today, Lippestad told Norway’s NRK that Breivik also asked if he could appear at the hearing in uniform, but did not specify what kind of uniform. A manifesto published online prior to the attacks and attributed to Breivik contained images of him in different uniforms.

The prosecution called for a closed hearing and requested that Breivik be held for eight weeks to allow them prepare their case. Usually, defendants are brought to court every four weeks, but in cases of serious crimes in Norway, judges can approve longer periods of pre-trial detention.

Norway’s TV2 reports that the police also called for a closed hearing without the public or the media for operational and safety reasons, and says that the request was granted earlier today. Breitvik’s appearance is currently being held behind closed doors.

A one-minute’s silence was held at noon (11am Irish time) in memory of the victims of the Oslo explosion and the mass shooting on Utoya island.

Arrest claims

Norway’s Dagbladet reports that Polish media claims a man was arrested in Wroclaw today in connection with the Oslo bombing, however Reuters says that Polish police are questioning a man but have not detained or charged anyone.

The man is thought to run an online chemical supply store selling legal products. An investigation was launched by Polish authorities after a tip-off from Norwegian police, who have refused to comment on the Polish reports.

Six people arrested in Oslo at the weekend as part of the investigation into the attacks were subsequently released without charge. Police said they had no links to the attacks.

Manifesto

In that 1,500-page manifesto, Breivik outlines his plans for protecting Europe against multiculturalism and describes preparing for the attacks. He also criticises EU leaders and politicians, including Brian Cowen and Charlie McCreevy, for promoting EU integration, expansion and the Lisbon Treaty.

The investigation into the bombing and mass shooting has turned to London because Breivik’s manifesto also mentions that he is one of 15-80 members of an international ‘Christian military order’, called Pauperes Commilitones Christi Templique Solomonici (translated as the ‘poor fellow soldiers of Christ of the temple of Solomon’) founded in London in 2002.

He outlines the group;’s 20-70 year plan as seizing “political and military power in all Western European countries. Destroy and ban political Marxism/cultural Marxism (multiculturalism) as political concepts in Europe and drive out Islam for a third time.”

Norwegian police yesterday confirmed that a criminal technical expert from the UK’s Metropolitan Police was has joined the investigation. Meanwhile, French police began raiding Breivik’s father’s home in Cournanel, southern France, this morning. Local news reports suggest Jens Breivik has not been in touch with his son for may years.

The search for victims continues today.

Norway’s royal court said this morning that the crown princess’s stepbrother was among those killed on the island. Trond Berntsen, an off-duty police officer, was working on Utoya as a security guard.

Eyewitnesses to the shooting have described trying to escape from the gunman, who targeted a political youth retreat, and of hearing his victims “begging for their lives”.

- Additional reporting by the AP

Read: Is this man one of the luckiest people in Norway? >

Read: Manifesto attributed to Norway attacks suspect criticises Cowen, McCreevy >

In photos: Norway mourns 93 killed in twin terror attacks >

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