OSLO: Anders Behring Breivik, after having been declared sane, went on trial for the killing of 77 people in the July 22 Norway twin attacks, on Monday. He pleaded ‘not guilty to the charges of murder against him, but broke down when lawyers played back a video broadcast by the accused.
He listened impassively as prosecutors detailed the victims and causes of death. He was even almost smiling at one point when prosecutors recalled elements about his past.
But as lawyers played back a video broadcast by the accused on the day of the attacks, tears welled up in his eyes.
After his theatrical entrance into courtroom 250 of the Oslo tribunal with a far-right salute that was reminiscent of the Nazi salute or Hitler salute, it almost seemed that nothing would move Breivik.
The defendant had remained stoney-faced as prosecutor Inga Bejer Engh opened the 10-week long trial listing the names and causes of death of the 77 victims, most of whom were teenagers.
“The bullets entered in the head under the left eye and left temple, resulting in damages in the head and brain,” she said in one account.
In another, it was “two bullets in the back,” and another “a bullet in the throat.”
Several relatives of the victims tried to hold back their sobs, shaking their heads silently, unable to understand what could have pushed Breivik to commit the crime.
Another prosecutor in charge of the case, Svein Holden, then took over, screening a 12-minute film broadcast by the accused on the day of the attacks.
The video projected on a screen was a sequence of photos and sketches of Islamists set to soft music.
And then his eyes welled up.
His face red with emotion, and lips trembling, Breivik wiped away tears several times.
What prompted the reaction?
The lawyer in whom he appeared to have confided later, Vibeke Hein Baera, said she could not answer the question.
But for others, it was not remorse.
“I personally feel that him crying was basically him being moved by what he had accomplished,” said John Kyrre Lars Hestnes, a member of the support group for victims of the attacks.
“It was not a sign of regret at all. A man who has done what he has done does not get any sympathy from me, that’s for sure,” he added.
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