OSLO - Following a painful trial for Oslo's far-right mass murderer, the summer for grieving Norwegians will not be the same as they await the judges to deliver their verdict against extremist Anders Behring Breivik.
"Our grief will never pass, and our lives will never be the same, Trine Aamodt, mother of one of the Utoeya victims, told the media, BBC reported on Friday, June 22.
The trial of the worst mass murderer in Norway's peacetime history ended on Friday with Anders Behring Breivik saying that his bombing and shooting rampage was necessary to defend the country.
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As the trial went through the past weeks, many Norwegians chose not to follow it closely in order to avoid becoming absorbed in its horrific details.
"We choose not to think about it because it all just seems so un-Norwegian," a man noted.
Breivik killed at least 76 people were killed in twin attacks on a government building and a youth training camp in Oslo last year.
The right-wing extremist said that his assault was a self-styled mission to save European Christendom from Islam.
He argued his victims deserved to die because they supported Muslim immigration, which he said is adulterating pure Norwegian blood.
Final arguments in the 10-week trial revolved around the question of whether the self-proclaimed anti-Muslim militant was a lunatic or not.
His defense lawyer said in closing arguments that Breivik was sane and had the right to be punished for what he believed was a political act.
The prosecution had argued on Thursday that Breivik was insane. If the judges agree, he will be destined for a mental institution instead of a prison.
"I think we all can agree that on July 22, a barbaric thing happened," Breivik said in a rambling closing statement, Reuters reported.
"I remember that on July 21, I thought after many years of planning, that tomorrow I will die...and what is it I will die for?"
In his closing statement Breivik again tried to justify his actions and hit out at what he saw as the ills of modern Norway when a number of people walked out of the courtroom.
"My brothers in the Norwegian and European resistance are sitting out there following this trial, while planning new attacks. They could be responsible for as many as 40,000 being killed," Breivik said.
Concluding the final statements, the court would have to weigh up conflicting psychiatric reports on the state of Breivik's mental health.
Defense counsel Geir Lippestad said on Friday that Breivik wanted to be ruled sane and punished for his actions.
"If we...take into account that the defendant has a political project, to see his actions as an expression of illness is to take away a basic human right, the right to take responsibility for one's own actions," Lippestad said.
The prosecution said on Thursday he was insane and should be committed to a mental institution.
A first report said his acts were inspired by fantasies of violence while the second said they were motivated by extreme right-wing zeal.
Resolving this conflict could be the five-judge panel's major decision.
If found sane, Breivik faces a maximum 21-year sentence but could be held indefinitely if he is considered a continuing danger.
If declared insane, he would be held in a psychiatric institution indefinitely with periodic reviews.
Kristi Sofie Lovlie, who lost her daughter Hanne in the explosion in the government building, gave testimony on her feelings during the past 11 months of mourning.
Her courage drew applause and moved many to tears, including judges.
"I made a decision. I shall not be afraid of that man. It cannot be dangerous for me to come here. I had to come here for Hanne's sake," Lovlie said.
"Now, here we are at the end of the road. I am sure that the court will provide us with a just verdict."
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net