Less than two weeks before a verdict is expected on whether mass killer Anders Breivik is criminally responsible for last summer’s bomb and gun attacks which killed 77 people, several Norwegian politicians have received threats saying they will be killed if Breivik is declared insane.
Norwegian lawmaker Christian Tybring-Gjedde said a threatening message had been sent to him from an organization calling itself, 'Knights Templar Norway'. Anders Breivik produced a manifesto entitled "2083: A European Declaration of Independence," saying the Knights Templar, a medieval order of crusading Christian monks, had been re-founded to fight against an "ongoing European Jihad" linked to Muslim immigration to the continent. Throughout his ten-week trial Breivik was repeatedly questioned over his claims that other extreme anti-immigration activists existed in Norway.
Norwegian MP Christian Tybring-Gjedde:
"First of all, it's difficult to believe that these things could be true in a peaceful country like Norway. Well, we saw last year that our democracy is under threat. It was a great surprise to everybody I think the attack that we had and we have to be very careful and be very vigilant about our defence and our police and our security."
On July 22 last year Anders Breivik set off a bomb in central Oslo, killing 8 people before travelling to a holiday island dressed as a policeman and gunning down 69 mostly young people attending a political summer camp.
Many believe that Breivik acted alone and is mentally unstable and Norwegian police have so far said there is no evidence to suggest that he was part of a broader organization or that the recent threats are anything more than a hoax. The verdict in his trial is due to be announced on August 24 with public opinion favouring that he should be deemed sane and serve a criminal sentence rather than being admitted to a secure mental health institution.