Norway trial: Freedom or death penalty

Anders Behring Breivik said he should be executed if found guilty of last year's mass killings in Norway, telling his trial that other lone extremists were plotting to emulate his attacks.

On day three of his trial, Breivik, who stands accused of committing "acts of terror'', acknowledged it was unrealistic to expect the death sentence in a country which does not allow capital punishment.

But he derided the 21-year maximum prison sentence allowed in Norway in the event of his conviction for the killing of 77 people last year as "pathetic''.

There are only two "legitimate outcomes of this case: acquittal or the death penalty,'' Breivik told the court.

"I embrace death. I looked at the action on July 22 as a suicide mission,'' Breivik told the district court in Oslo. "I did not expect to survive.''

Breivik, now aged 33, first killed eight people last July when he set off a bomb in a van parked outside buildings housing the offices of Labour Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, who was not present at the time.

He then travelled to Utoeya island where, dressed as a police officer, he spent more than an hour methodically shooting at hundreds of people attending a Labour Party youth summer camp.

The shooting spree claimed 69 lives, mostly teens trapped on the small island surrounded by icy waters. It was the deadliest massacre ever committed by a lone gunman.

Breivik entered a plea of not guilty at the start of his trial, saying his acts were "cruel but necessary''.

But if the court deems him sane, Breivik faces a 21-year jail term, which could then be extended indefinitely if he is still considered a threat to society.

If found insane he could be sentenced to closed psychiatric care, possibly for life.

"I consider 21 years prison a pathetic punishment,'' he said, adding that he thought it a shame that one of the trial judges had been dismissed Tuesday for having called for him to receive the death penalty the day after the attacks.

Two psychiatric evaluations have drawn contradictory conclusions on Breivik's sanity, and ultimately it will be up to the judges to rule on the issue when they deliver their verdict sometime in mid-July.

During his cross-examination, Breivik, who is intent on proving his sanity so as to lend credence to his Islamophobic and "militant nationalist'' ideology, told prosecutor Inga Bejer Engh that there were currently two other one-man cells in Norway "planning attacks'' and who could strike at any time.

"I am only one of many militant nationalists... The important thing is that I am not the only one and if our demands are not met _ if the Labour party does not stop deconstructing Norwegian culture _ this will happen again and again,'' he said.

However his claim was later rejected by the prosecutors, who spent most of Wednesday focusing on a network of far-right militants called the Knights Templar, which Breivik claims to be part of but which the prosecution says doesn't exist.

"We don't think there are more cells,'' prosecutor Svein Holden told reporters after the close of proceedings.

Breivik has said his attacks were aimed at defending "ethnic Norwegians'' from what he describes as a Muslim invasion caused by the Labour government's generous immigration policies.

Breivik claimed he was at a founding meeting of the so-called KT in London in 2002 with three other "militant nationalists.''

"The essence of the entire KT network is to tie a heroic act to (a militant nationalist) identity,'' he told the court.

"That is what creates a foundation for continued resistance'' against multiculturalism.

The meeting in London, he said, was a bid to bring together all militant nationalists in Europe and to create a new tradition of "martyrdom''.

During the first two days of the trial, Breivik appeared calm and collected, answering questions while making clear he would "have done it again''.

But on Wednesday, he grew frustrated with Engh's questions over his claims he had travelled to Liberia to meet a nationalist Serb wanted for war crimes, and with three militant nationalists in London in connection with the founding of KT.

"I do not want to provide information that could lead to the arrest of others,'' he said.

"You are trying to sow doubt about whether the network exists.''

When she persisted, he exploded at one point: "Yes, there was a meeting in London... I haven't made up anything!''

- AFP

Chief judge Wenche Elizabeth Arntzen warned Breivik that if he continued to refuse to answer, it could be used against him, but also stressed to the prosecutor that he was allowed to refuse to answer her questions.

Lawyers for the survivors and the families of the victims meanwhile said their clients had complained about Breivik's far-right salute _ in which he touches his chest and extends his clenched right fist in front of him _ each morning before the start of the trial.

His main lawyer Geir Lippestad told reporters after the third day of proceedings that he had discussed the matter with his client.

``We have discussed it with him... We hope he will take this into consideration tomorrow,'' he said, adding ``We hope he won't do it.''

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