Anders Breivik opens parole hearing with Nazi salute

Norwegian white supremacist is seeking parole after 10 years behind bars

Anders Breivik sends out his message on the first day of his parole hearing. AFP

Anders Breivik, the Norwegian right-wing extremist who killed 77 people in a massacre, opened his parole hearing by performing a Nazi salute and calling for an end to a “genocide against white nations”.

Dressed in a two-piece suit, Breivik, 42, made a dramatic entrance to the makeshift courtroom in Skien prison where he is serving a 21-year sentence.

He held a sign that read “Stop your genocide against our white nations!!!” and wore a sticker bearing the same words on his chest.

Breivik carried a bag bearing the same white supremacist message.

The court must rule whether Breivik is still so dangerous that society needs extra protection against him and if he should be kept behind bars.

Mass killer Anders Breivik arrives at the makeshift courtroom in Skien prison, Norway, carrying a bag bearing a white supremacist message. Reuters

The Norwegian mass killer’s sentence can be extended indefinitely.

Under Norwegian law, he is eligible to seek parole after serving the first 10 years of his term.

Breivik legally changed his name to Fjotolf Hansen in 2017.

He presented himself as the leader of a Norwegian neo-Nazi movement, suggesting he would use the parole hearing as an opportunity to manifest his white supremacist views rather than make an earnest attempt for early release.

Prosecutor Hulda Karlsdottir told the hearing Breivik's prison conditions would have no influence on the matter of parole.

They are “completely subordinate. The main topic here is the danger associated with release”, she told the court.

Relatives of some of his victims and survivors of the attack had feared Breivik would use the hearing as a platform to inspire like-minded people.

Experts say the hearing is unlikely to result in early release for the mass killer.

Speaking before the courtroom hearing, Lisbeth Kristine Royneland, who is the head of a family and survivors' support group, said she was concerned about Breivik’s views being aired freely.

“The only thing I am afraid of is if he has the opportunity to talk freely and convey his extreme views to people who have the same mindset,” she said.

Ms Royneland referred to the case of Norwegian gunman Philip Manshaus who, inspired by the 2019 New Zealand terrorist attacks, murdered his stepsister and attempted to storm a mosque.

Breivik spent months planning his attack on July 22, 2011.

He began his assault by setting off a car bomb outside the government headquarters in Oslo, killing eight people and wounding dozens.

He then drove to the island of Utoya, where he opened fire on the annual summer camp of the left-wing Labour Party’s youth wing. After killing 69 people, most of them teenagers, Breivik surrendered to police.

The following year, the court that convicted him found him criminally sane and rejected the prosecution’s argument that he was psychotic. Breivik did not appeal his sentence.

During the 2012 trial, the extremist told grieving parents that he wished he had killed more people. He claimed he had been trying to set up a fascist party in prison and tried to contact right-wing extremists in Europe and the US by mail. Prison officials seized many of his letters, fearing Breivik would inspire others to commit violent attacks.

He criticised the Norwegian and other European governments for embracing multiculturalism.

Updated: January 18, 2022, 12:08 PM