In his first public appearance since being convicted in 2012 of killing dozens of people a year earlier during the deadliest rampage in Norway this side of World War II, Anders Breivik greeted attendees at a court hearing on Tuesday with a Nazi-style salute.
Video cameras were rolling as the 37-year-old right-wing extremist extended a flattened right hand and held it in the air for several seconds moments after he arrived for court proceedings outside of Oslo.
In the midst of serving a maximum 21-year sentence for the rampage that left 77 people dead, Breivik this week is challenging what his attorneys have called “inhuman” treatment in violation of the European Convention on Human Rights’s prohibition against torture. He’s been held in isolation and largely prohibited with communicating with most anyone since 2013, and alleges prison guards routinely subject him to degrading treatment, including frequent strip searches.
“This case is about something much more than what many people think, just a lawsuit brought to allow Breivik back into the spotlight to explain himself,” lawyer Øystein Storrvik said in court, The Guardian reported.
“This case is simply about his detention conditions for the rest of his life,” the attorney said.
Nevertheless, legal arguments took a backseat on Tuesday to the killer’s gesture, which occurred nearly instantly after a law enforcement officer uncuffed Breivik’s wrists on day one of proceedings.
Mr. Storrvik called the act “the worst thing you can do in a courtroom,” and said that his client later claimed it was an old Norse gesture, Reuters reported.
Berit Reiss-Andersen, an attorney for one of the dozens of individuals killed by Breivik during his 2011 rampage, called the gesture “incredibly provocative” during an interview after on television channel TV2.
Breivik is expected to testify on Wednesday, Reuters reported
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