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Norway mass killer demands medal at court hearing

OSLO, Norway (AP) — The right-wing extremist who has admitted killing 77 people in Norway’s worst peacetime massacre told a court Monday that he deserves a medal of honor for the bloodshed and demanded to be set free.

Anders Behring Breivik smirked as he was led in to the Oslo district court, handcuffed and dressed in a dark suit, for his last scheduled detention hearing before the trial starts in April. He stretched out his arms in what his lawyer Geir Lippestad called “some kind of right-wing extremist greeting.”

Reading from prepared remarks, the 32-year-old Norwegian told the court that the July 22 massacre — carried out with a bomb, a rifle and a handgun — was a strike against “traitors” who he said are embracing immigration to promote “an Islamic colonization of Norway.”

Like in previous hearings, Breivik admitted to setting off the bomb outside the government headquarters in Oslo and opening fire at a Labor Party youth camp on Utoya island, outside the capital. But he again denied criminal responsibility for the deaths and rejected the authority of the court.

Some 100 survivors and victims’ relatives watched in disbelief as Breivik asked to be released and then told the judge he should receive a military honor for the attacks. Many survivors had expressed concern that Breivik will use court hearings to draw attention to his extremist views.

“It wasn’t good that he got to say what he wanted to say,” said Amel Baltic, a 16-year-old survivor of the Utoya massacre. “It made me irritated.”

Judge Wenche Gjelsten ordered Breivik to remain in custody until the trial begins on April 16. Breivik faces terror charges that carry up to 21 years in prison, but if he’s deemed to be gravely mentally ill he will be sent to psychiatric care.

A psychiatric evaluation found Breivik criminally insane, but a second evaluation was ordered amid criticism of that diagnosis. Breivik has refused to cooperate with psychiatrists in the second review.