Anders Behring Breivik Claims to Have Accomplices, Death Toll Drops to 76
Anders Behring Breivik, who initially claimed he acted alone in Friday’s bombing and shooting, now claims he is part of a cell, or group and that “there are two more cells in our organization,” Judge Kim Heger said, adding that the claim requires further investigation.
The statement was made at a closed hearing for Breivik held today. Judge Kim Heger made the decision to keep the hearing closed under advisory of the police, who were “worried about giving out too much information. One of the reasons was that we thought that other people might be implicated,” the BBC reports.
Breivik admitted carrying out the attacks, but pleaded not guilty to the charges against him. The court ruled that Breivik will be held in custody for eight weeks, with the first four spent in isolation. This means Breivik will not have any access to media and will not be allowed any visitors, other than his lawyers. Breivik will likely receive a sentence of 21 years, the maximum allowable by Norwegian law. However, Norwegian journalist Ketil B. Stensrud tweeted that “…the judge can make the sentence last indefinitely, by renewing five years at a time. Prosecutor Christian Hatlo said that Breivik expected to spend the rest of his life behind bars, the BBC reports. Police say that two psychiatrists have been assigned to asses his mental health.
Breivik reportedly remained calm during the hearing, attempting to justify his actions with anti-Muslim, anti-immigration rhetoric. Breivik also explained that his actions were meant to deal as great a blow as possible to Norway’s governing Labour Party, who he blamed for the “Islamisation” and “cultural Marxism” of Norway. Judge Heger cut him off when he started to read from his manifesto, a 1,500 page document written in English and reportedly put online under the pseudonym of Andrew Berwick hours before the attacks, according to the BBC. In the manifesto, Breivik also kept a diary of his planning of the attacks. He refers to himself in the document as “Justiciar Knight Commander/Knights Templar Europe/Knights Templar Norway.”
More information on Breivik’s connections to far-right and neo-Nazi organizations is emerging. According to local TV reports, Polish police questioned a man suspected in connection with the Norway attacks, though Reuters reports that “Nobody has been charged or detained…” in the investigation. UK anti-fascist organization Searchlight issued a statement claiming, “Searchlight has found some links between Breivik and the British far right and will be revealing these shortly,” reports BBC correspondent Matt Prodger. Also, a Swedish group that monitors far-right activity called Expo reports that Breivik was a member of Swedish neo-Nazi internet forum Nordisk.
Meanwhile, as 100,000 people gathered in Oslo for a vigil honoring the victims of the attack, police revised the number killed on the island of Utøya from 86 to 68 (though police are still searching for missing people in the area), citing confusion and preoccupation with helping survivors for the initially skewed numbers. Police also increased the number reportedly killed in the Oslo bombing to 8, bringing the death toll down to 76 from the previously reported 93.
Norway’s secret service has revealed that authorities had been alerted to Breivik as a potential security risk as early as March, following a deal Breivik made with a Polish chemical firm. The head of the program, Janne Kristiansen said there wasn’t enough evidence to investigate further at the time, The Daily Star reports. This revelation brings further scrutiny on Norwegian security forces already embarrassed by their slow reaction time in the wake of the shooting.
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