Norway gunman says he "would have done it again"
The Norwegian gunman who killed 77 people in shooting and bombing attacks last year told the Oslo court where he is being tried on Tuesday that he would "have done it again."
Anders Behring Breivik, 33, has pleaded not guilty, saying he was defending Norway when he set off a bomb that killed eight people outside a government building in Oslo last July and then shot dead 69 others at a summer camp of the ruling Labour Party near the capital, DPA reported.
The Oslo District Court allowed Breivik to read out a written statement, which he prepared in prison. Breivik spoke for almost an hour, expanding on his anti-Islamic ideology.
"Yes, I would have done it again, because offences against my people are many times as bad," Breivik said. "I acted according to the principle of necessity on behalf of my people, my culture and my country."
He added that his actions were "preventive attacks" in defence of ethnic Norwegians and compared the Labour Party youth wing to the Hitler Youth.
"These were not innocent, civilian children but political activists who promote multiculturalism," he said
The trial opened after court-appointed psychiatrists this month said Breivik was sane and accountable for his actions. An earlier team of experts had found him insane.
The court will consider both assessments.
If found guilty, Breivik could face up to 21 years in jail. However, he could be held indefinitely if he is considered a threat.
If the court rules that he is insane, he would be sent to a psychiatric clinic.
Breivik told the court that ultra-nationalists in Europe should learn from al-Qaeda, describing the terrorist network as the world's most successful militant organization.
"Militant nationalists in Europe have a lot to learn from them. The resistance struggle so far has been pathetic," told the court. "We act not out of evil but to save our nations, our ethnic groups and culture."
He added: "Europe was not at war, yet. We are working for the original people's rights and against Islamisation."
The court removed a 33-year-old lay judge after it emerged that he had advocated the death penalty for Breivik online. Norway does not have the death penalty.
Trond Henry Blattmann, who heads a support group for the victims, told broadcaster NRK that it was "important" that Breivik gave his explanation, noting however that "he is on trial for killing 77 people and injuring many more... not for his political views."
Blattmann's son died of a gunshot wound to the head at Utoya, the island where the Labour Party youth summer camp was held.