Sat, Jul 30, 2011 - Page 6 News List

Norway gunman questioned on new leads


People visit a makeshift memorial on Thursday outside a cathedral in Oslo to honor the 76 victims of the July 22 twin attacks in the city and on the island of Utoeya.

Photo: AFP

Norwegian police were to question Anders Behring Breivik again yesterday as new information emerged about his killing spree and prosecutors said he would not go on trial before next year.

The questioning took place as the nation mourned the 76 victims in memorial services marking a week since the attacks.

It was to be the second time for police to interrogate the far-right extremist since Saturday last week, the morning after his shooting rampage on Utoeya island and the bomb blast in downtown Oslo that killed 76 people.

Police official Paal-Fredrik Hjort Kraby said officers would question Behring Breivik on “information received over the last few days — which is a lot,” although he did not elaborate.

European counter-terrorism experts met in Brussels to look at lessons that can be drawn from the attacks, and an Oslo gun club said Behring Breivik had been a member since 2005.

However, as the depth and complexity of the investigation spread, the country’s highest legal officer said it would take time to sift through the evidence.

“We hope that we can conduct the court trial in the course of next year,” the country’s prosecutor-general Tor Aksel Buschhe said, adding that Behring Breivik’s indictment “will not be ready before the end of the year.”

Police have charged Breivik with terrorism, which carries a maximum sentence of 21 years in prison. However, it’s possible the charge will change during the investigation to crimes against humanity, which carries a 30-year prison term, Busch said.

The possibility that Behring Breivik had been working with other people was receding, officials said, despite an international intelligence probe.

EU terrorism experts meeting in Brussels warned that the bloodbath in Norway, which they said was almost “impossible to prevent,” underlined the need for stronger European counter-terrorism action.

Police are still searching the waters around Utoeya and the bombing site in downtown Oslo for missing persons, although they said on Thursday that the land search on the island had ended.

Norwegian news agency NTB said Behring Breivik was picked up at a jail and transported to police headquarters in Oslo for a second session of questioning.

Breivik has admitted to carrying out the attacks, but has pleaded not guilty to terror charges, saying he’s in a state of war, according to his lawyer and police.

Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg was scheduled to attend two memorial services yesterday, one hosted by the Labor Party and the other held in a mosque in an immigrant district of Oslo.

Stoltenberg has urged the increasingly diverse Nordic nation to show unity in the face of its deadliest assault during peacetime.

Meanwhile, the first funerals of the victims were to be held yesterday afternoon.

Bano Rashid, an 18-year-old woman originally from Kurdistan, was to be buried in Nesodden, near the capital, at 1.00pm. Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere was to attend the funeral, national news agency NTB said.

A Labour Party youth activist who died in the gun rampage on Utoeya island that claimed the lives of 68 mostly young people, she had written frequently about the evils of racism and discrimination, the agency said.

Her younger sister escaped the massacre on the island, and her mother told media: “The answer must not be hatred, but even more love.”

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