OSLO — The trial of Anders Behring Breivik ended Friday, exactly 11 months after he massacred 77 people in Norway, with the confessed killer insisting his attacks were justified and demanding acquittal.
The court announced that the verdict would be issued on August 24, while Breivik claimed at the end of his 10-week trial that his attacks were necessary to defend Norway against multiculturalism and a "Muslim invasion".
"The July 22 attacks were preventive attacks in defence of my ethnic group and I can therefore not acknowledge guilt," the 33-year-old right-wing extremist said.
"I was acting on behalf of my people, my religion and my country. I therefore demand that I be acquitted," Breivik said, concluding his 45-minute-long final remarks.
On July 22, 2011, Breivik first set off a car bomb outside government buildings in Oslo, killing eight people, before going to Utoeya island, northwest of the capital where he shot and killed another 69 people, mostly teenagers.
The victims, the youngest of whom had just celebrated her 14th birthday, had been attending a summer camp hosted by the governing Labour Party's youth organisation.
Before Breivik made his final remarks Friday, many survivors of his attacks and family members of his victims stood up and left the Oslo courtroom in protest.
"He has a right to talk. We have no duty to listen," Christian Bjelland, the vice chair of the support group for the attacks' survivors and victims' families, told the NTB news agency.
After more than 30 people filed out of the courtroom, Breivik plunged into a ideological speech, among other things blasting US television series "Sex and the City" for encouraging women not to establish families and singers of immigrant origin representing Norway in the Eurovision Song Contest.
Addressing the five Oslo district court judges, he said: "the judges sitting here today can judge me as they wish."
But "history will show whether they judge a man who tried to stop evil," he said, insisting he "carried out a small barbarism to stop a greater barbarism."
He also reiterated that there were others willing to follow his lead, insisting that "my brothers in the Norwegian and European resistance movements are sitting there and following this case, but they are planning new attacks (that can lead to) as many as 40,000 dying."
And he claimed that explosives found at a Swedish nuclear plant this week had likely been planted by "my brothers in the Swedish resistance."
Shortly before Breivik took the stand, the Oslo district court heard heart-wrenching testimony from five people who lost a loved one in the July 22 attacks, drawing tears but also applause from onlookers.
"To inherit your child's cups and plates, is just crazy. Engraving your child's name in marble is also crazy," Kirsti Sofie Loevlie said, recalling how painful it had been to go through her 30-year-old daughter Hanne's apartment after she was killed in the Oslo bombing.
Utoeya survivor Lara Rashid, whose elder sister Bano was killed on the island, spoke of her pain at knowing her sister would not be there on her wedding day or to see her children.
"The day she died, I died too," she said.
Earlier Friday, Breivik's main defence lawyer Geir Lippestad rejected the prosecution's call for his client to be locked up in a psychiatric institution and insisted that he be given the "mildest possible" prison term.
Though there is no chance Breivik will be acquitted, the defence lawyer was also formally obliged to request his acquittal since he has pleaded not guilty, evoking the "principle of necessity".
Lippestad however fumbled when concluding his closing arguments, and only asked for Breivik to be freed after the accused spoke up and insisted he do so.
Yet with no illusion of getting his client off, the defence focused mainly on trying to demonstrate that Breivik is sane.
Psychiatric evaluations of Breivik's mental health have sharply contradicted each other, with two court-appointed expert teams reaching opposite conclusions.
Breivik himself is intent on proving himself sane to establish that his far-right, Islamophobic ideology is not just a lunatic's rant.
Prosecutors argued Thursday that Breivik's sanity had not been proven beyond a reasonable doubt, referring to the first court-ordered exam that found him to be suffering from "paranoid schizophrenia" and an uncontrollable urge to violence.
Lippestad meanwhile spent much of his closing argument attacking that report, seeking support instead in the second report that found Breivik sane to show his political extremism, not psychosis, was behind his client's actions.
If found criminally sane, Breivik, who has been charged with committing acts of terror, will likely be sentenced to Norway's harshest penalty: 21 years in prison, with the possibility of an extension for as long as he is considered a danger to society.
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