As it happened: Norway attacker in court

Key points

  • Anders Behring Breivik, who has admitted carrying out Friday's twin attacks but has not pleaded guilty, has made his first court appearance in a closed session
  • A judge said Mr Breivik will be held in custody for eight weeks, including four weeks in isolation, and that "two more cells" may have been involved
  • Police have revised the death toll from the bomb attack in Oslo and the island shooting to 76, down from 93
  • Times in BST (GMT+1)

Join the discussion

Comment here

The BBC may edit your comments and not all emails will be published.
Your comments may be published on any BBC media worldwide.

Terms and conditions


    Welcome to the BBC's live coverage of the aftermath of Friday's twin attacks in Norway. We'll be providing minute-by-minute coverage of latest developments, as well as linking to background, analysis and comment from around the web. Please get in touch with your reactions.


    Today's events are expected to centre on the first court appearance by the man who has said he was responsible, Anders Behring Breivik. A judge is set to rule on whether the hearing should be behind closed doors.


    Before that, at 1200 local time (1000 GMT), there will be a minute's silence for those killed by the bombing in Oslo on Friday and the shooting on the island of Utoeya.


    You can catch up with background on the attacks by going to the BBC website's in depth report.

    1039: From the BBC's Kate Forbes in Oslo:

    White van has arrived at court and entered the back of the building at high speed. We think it might be Breivik but we cannot confirm this.


    The judge presiding over Breivik's court appearance is expected to make an announcement in half an hour about whether the hearing will be open.


    There have been questions about why the Norwegian police did not get the the island where the shootings happened more quickly. Norway's Aftenposten is reporting that the police did not have access to any surveillance helicopters due to holidays.

    1051: Gavin Hewitt BBC Europe editor

    Hundreds of journalists from all over the world are waiting outside Courtroom 8, waiting to learn whether this will be a closed or open hearing.

    1053: From the BBC's Kate Forbes:

    In Oslo court house speaking to a journalist from Norway Business Daily. She says in normal court cases, the judge will bring the court in session before deciding if the court will be open or closed. But this time things might be different.

    1055: More from the BBC's Kate Forbes:

    We ask if there are court artists in Norwegian courts usually. "There's no need!" comes the reply. "Everything is open here in Norway." Among people we speak to, there is a strong determination here to make sure that openness doesn't change.


    According to Norway's Aftenposten newspaper the police and general secretary of the Norwegian press association, Per Edgar Kokkvold, would like today's court hearing to be behind closed doors. A professor of law at the University of Bergen, Jan Fridthjof Bernt, disagrees and calls for transparency.


    The minute's silence is now starting.


    Images show politicians, crowds and rescue workers standing in silence as they pay their respects.


    The minute's silence is over but people are still standing with heads bowed in central Oslo. Seagulls can be heard overhead.


    The prime minister and members of the royal family have been signing a book of condolences. A small Norwegian flag and a bouquet of white flowers stand on a table next to the book.


    Norwegian broadcaster TV2 is reporting that the hearing of Anders Behring Breivik will be closed. Authorities have yet to confirm this.

    Sky's Ian Woods

    tweets: Reports that the hearing will be closed have not been confirmed to those of us waiting outside courtroom

    Mark in London

    writes: Why do people keep trying to characterise Breivik as a "Christian fundamentalist"? If he must be "Christian" anything, it would be "Christian nationalist". And I reject the idea that there is anything at all Christian about this man or his ideology.


    People have been leaving flowers and candles as impromptu memorials to the victims of Friday's attacks. Here's one example from Oslo.

    Tribute in Oslo, 25 July 2011

    The court in Oslo has decided that Breivik's hearing will be closed - so journalists will not be admitted.

    1121: From the BBC's Kate Forbes in Oslo:

    Police have just taken sniffer dogs around the courthouse perimeter and inside the court.

    Berit Abell in Southampton, England

    writes: As a Norwegian living in the UK I wish to send my deepest condolences to all Norwegian people in Norway and abroad. Nobody can even start to comprehend the effect this will have on the Norwegian people. It has left me totally numb.


    A reminder that Anders Behring Breivik has admitted carrying out Friday's killings, but police say he has not accepted criminal responsibility. He has said he will explain his actions in today's court appearance.

    1137: Gavin Hewitt BBC Europe editor

    has posted a blog entry in which he argues that the attacks will focus attention on immigration, multiculturalism and the rise of the populist far right: "Norway's tragedy will be used by some to speak of the dangers of populism. Others will insist that openly and sensitively these questions must be examined and not left to the internet chat rooms."

    Sky's Ian Woods

    tweets: Norwegian paper says that hearing closed because judge was told by police that Breivik may use hearing to pass on a coded message


    Norwegian police have said the number of people killed on Utoeya island - which currently stands at 86 - might still be revised downwards. Seven people died in the bombing in Oslo.


    The British anti-fascist organisation Searchlight says it has seen no evidence that Breivik had links of significance with either the English Defence League or the British National Party.


    The lengthy so-called "compendium" written by Anders Behring Breivik contains many mentions of the English Defence League, which he describes as having "noble intentions" but being "dangerously naive". Breivik refers to the BNP 23 times in his 1,500 page manifesto, but appears to have been unimpressed by it.


    Britain's National Security Council has asked police and security services to look at whether there is "adequate scrutiny of far-right individuals and groups" in the wake of the Norway killings.


    The Norwegian anti-Islamic citizen journalist website, to which Breivik himself was a frequent contributor, has said large parts of his "compendium" are copied directly from US "Unabomber" Ted Kaczynski's manifesto. Six of the references to the British National Party are from a Melanie Phillips article in Britain's Daily Mail about Labour, immigration and the BNP, which he appears to have cut and pasted into the document.

    1204: Sara in Sweden

    writes: This man is a mass murderer, not an activist. Why does the media keep focusing on his shallow politics - it will play into the killer's hands and is disrespectful to the victims.

    1206: From the BBC's Chris Mason in Oslo:

    The courtroom will be completely closed to the press and public, a court official has just told me. It is not known if Breivik is here yet or how long the hearing will last. A decision will be taken later about whether future appearances will be in public.


    For those not watching TV coverage of the scene in Oslo outside the court, there was applause from journalists as a newly married couple walked out of the building a moment ago.


    BBC Monitoring has compiled a roundup of commentary on the Norwegian attacks from the world's press.

    Nick Martin

    writes on our BBC News Facebook wall: At least the Norwegians have had the sense to try this guy behind closed doors and not give him the publicity he craves.


    Here's an image grabbed of the married couple who emerged earlier (see 1211 entry) in front of journalists waiting outside the Oslo court where Anders Behring Breivik's hearing is being held.

    Oslo wedding
    Stian Pride in Oslo

    tweets: Breivik has arrived at the courthouse, NRK [the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation] reports. Most likely won't be seen.


    Reuters reports that people were banging on the windows of a car driving to the Oslo court house, believing it was carrying Anders Behring Breivik.


    Polish police have questioned a man in connection with the Norway attacks and searched a warehouse, local TV reports.


    Nobody has been charged or detained in the Polish investigation, a spokesman tells Reuters.


    Norwegian news agency NTB says Breivik has arrived at court for his hearing.

    A BBC News viewer

    texts: Many Norwegians live in London and are mourning. People can sign a book of condolences in the Norwegian Embassy in London today from 13:00-15:30. Also the Norwegian Church will be open daily this week from 10:00 to 19:00 for those who need somewhere to go. See the Norwegian Embassy's website.


    Prosecutors have said they will ask during the hearing that Breivik be detained for eight weeks - double the usual four-week maximum pre-custody period.

    1256: From the BBC's Kate Forbes in Oslo:

    Oslo police will hold a press conference after the Breivik hearing. It will be at the main police station in Oslo. Breivik's lawyer will also hold a presser after the hearing, probably on steps of court.


    Here's a full quote from Judge Kim Heger on why today's hearing is being held behind closed doors: "It is clear that there is concrete information that a public hearing with the suspect present could quickly lead to an extraordinary and very difficult situation in terms of the investigation and security."

    1311: From the BBC's Jorn Madslien:

    From 31 July till 6 August, Oslo is due to host the Norway Cup, a large football tournament for teams from all over the country and many visiting teams from other countries. There's now much focus on safety arrangements, whether it should be cancelled, and whether parents will dare send their children.


    More on the Polish investigation. In October-November 2010, Breivik wrote in his "manifesto" that he had ordered chemicals from a Polish supplier. Polish security forces say the products purchased were commonly accessible and not illegal, Reuters reports.


    Reuters reports that a convoy believed to be holding Anders Behring Breivik has left the Oslo courthouse.

    Nick Jacobs, Oslo, Norway

    writes: I observed the minute's silence today together with all my colleagues - between us we are nine different nationalities. This is a tragedy the whole world mourns.


    Pawel Bialek, the deputy head of Poland's Internal Security Agency, says the bomb-making products purchased online by Anders Behring Breivik included a synthetic fertilizer. He said he also bought bomb components elsewhere in Europe.


    AFP news agency confirms that the Oslo court hearing has finished.


    If you are just joining us, welcome to the BBC's live coverage of the aftermath of Friday's twin attacks in Norway. We are providing minute-by-minute coverage of latest developments, as well as linking to background, analysis and comment from around the web. Please get in touch with your reactions.

    Kiran Stacey

    says the UK's National Security Council met on Monday and urged greater focus on right-wing terrorism. Writing in the FT's Westminster blog, he says: "One of the things that was decided was that ministers and police and security services should all check to see whether they and their departments are doing enough to prevent attacks from far-right extremists. Their findings will be reported back to Sir Peter Ricketts, the national security adviser."


    This is a picture of the convoy believed to be carrying Anders Behring Breivik away from court.

    Convoy believed to be carrying Anders Behring Breivik leaves court in oslo, 25 July

    UK Prime Minister David Cameron says: "Everyone in Britain shares in the sorrow and the anger at the despicable killing that took place on Friday... "Britain and Norway have been good allies and neighbours in very dark days before and we know the resilience and the courage and the decency of our Norwegian friends will overcome this evil."

    1411: Historian Tim Stanley

    writing in the Telegraph says we should see Mr Breivik as "lone psychopath" rather than a political terrorist: "Anders Breivik's murderous rampage is being used by liberals to guilt conservatives by association. Not only is this disingenuous, but it runs the risk of validating this man's view of himself as a political terrorist. Breivik was not a Tea Party supporter, a "fundamentalist Christian" or a Neo-Nazi agent."


    "A judge denied Anders Behring Breivik the public stage he wanted to air his anti-Muslim rants and call for revolution on Monday" - that's how the Associated Press sums up today's court hearing.


    UK PM David Cameron said Britain would review its own security at home in the wake of the killings. He was speaking alongside his visiting Spanish counterpart, Jose Zapatero.


    Norwegian presiding judge says Mr Breivik has been charged with acts of terrorism and has been remanded in custody for four weeks.


    Judge clarifies: Mr Breivik remanded in custody for eight weeks, four of them in complete isolation.


    Judge continues: Mr Breivik has not pleaded guilty, argued he wanted to save Norway and western Europe from "cultural Marxism".


    Judge says Mr Breivik said he wanted to send out a "sharp signal", accused ruling Labour Party of failing Norway.


    Mr Breivik quoted by judge: Labour Party had to pay price of treason, Muslims were out to colonise the country.


    Mr Breivik quoted by judge: Norwegian Labour Party was guilty of "mass import" of Muslims.


    Judge: Police to investigate Mr Breivik's claim that there are two more cells in his organisation.


    Judge says the prosecution requested complete isolation due to the risk of loss of evidence and because of the "extent and the character" of this case. So Mr Breivik will be in complete isolation until 22 August, meaning he will not be able to receive letters or visits, or use media.


    According to the judge, Mr Breivik said he had wanted to "induce the greatest possible loss to the Labour Party" to prevent further recruitment by the party.


    Judge tells reporters the information about two other militant cells came from Mr Breivik.


    Norwegian PM Jens Stoltenberg tells BBC he believes no country can ever fully protect itself from attacks like these.


    Norwegian PM tells BBC now is the time to look after the wounded and families that have lost loved ones - later they will have to investigate and try to learn from the tragedy.


    Norwegian PM tells BBC he believes his country will change but will remain an open and democratic country. It will, however, have to think about how that can be done, he adds.


    Judge confirms for reporters that Mr Breivik was not allowed to appear at his hearing in uniform.


    Just before the judge began speaking, we were listening to a joint news conference between the UK and Spanish prime ministers in London. Here is what Spain's Mr Zapatero had to say about Norway: "This isn't just another event. This is something extremely serious that requires a response, a European response, a shared response to defend freedom, to defend democracy, calling on people to rise up and fight radicalism, to respond against xenophobia."


    This is a picture of the judge, Kim Heger, speaking to reporters.

    Judge Kim Heger speaking at the central court in Oslo, 25 July

    From the judge: Time for main hearing will be decided after the police have concluded investigation. Not known how long investigation will take.


    That exclusive interview the Norwegian PM gave to the BBC is due to air shortly on TV, Jon Sopel putting the questions.


    So Mr Breivik has been remanded in custody for eight weeks, four of them in isolation. To recap on what the judge said about today's closed hearing: Mr Breivik admitted carrying out the attacks but did not plead guilty. Mr Breivik argued the killings had been necessary to prevent Europe being taken over by Muslims. His declared objective had been to inflict the greatest possible loss on Norway's governing Labour Party, which he blamed for encouraging immigration.

    1506: Fredrik Christensen in Kingston-Upon-Thames, UK

    writes: I am a Norwegian living in London. I regularly visit my family who all live near the epicentre of where those horrible events unfolded. I would never have expected the attacks to be carried out by a fellow countryman. Norway is mourning; it is a sad day for all of us.


    Norwegian police going to hold their own press conference later today, judge confirmed.

    1512: From the BBC's Jorn Madslien:

    Norway has postponed the start of the party political campaigns ahead of the 12 September election in the wake of Friday's terror attacks and parliament will be called back from its summer recess for one day for a memorial ceremony, Aftenposten newspaper reports. The campaigning is now set to start during the second half of August.


    This picture shows a glimpse of Mr Breivik in the back of a police car on his way to his closed hearing today.

    Anders Behring Breivik sits in the back of a police car on his way to court in Oslo, 25 July

    People waiting to catch a glimpse of Mr Breivik yelled "traitor" and "bloody killer," AFP reports, quoting Norway's NTB news agency.


    Now here's a quality picture of Anders Behring Breivik (left) leaving court in a police car today. Seems to be smiling.

    Anders Behring Breivik leaves the courthouse in a police car in Oslo, 25 July
    Norwegian Journalist Ketil B Stensrud in Kristiansand

    tweets: Breivik will most likely get 21 years. However, the judge can make the sentence last indefinitely, by renewing five years at a time.

    Caleb Bradley, Oslo, Norway

    writes: Our ravaged buildings will be rebuilt, their shattered windows will be reglazed and for every murdered victim who lies silent and cold there are a thousand ordinary Norwegians to say, "This is where we stand. Nothing has changed."

    Norwegian Journalist Ketil B Stensrud in Kristiansand

    tweets: Breivik's father - "The last thing he should have done, instead of killing so many people, is to kill himself." (TV2)


    According to Ketil B Stensrud, the recorded interview with Mr Breivik's father Jens will be broadcast on Norway's TV2 channel this evening. Here's a picture of Jens Breivik at his house in the south of France today, with police attending. He reportedly last saw Anders when he was 16, at his home.

    Jens Breivik at his house in the south of France, 25 July
    Lewis Mills in York, UK

    writes: Norway should be proud of its style of government and the social democracy that attempts to provide a fair, open society for all - including those fleeing conflict or humanitarian crisis. When the news broke of the attack in Oslo and then on the island of Utoeya I was left with a genuine sense of disbelief and numbness.


    In an interview with Swedish tabloid Expressen, Jens expressed disgust at his son's actions. "I don't feel like his father," the former diplomat said. "How could he just stand there and kill so many innocent people and just seem to think that what he did was okay? He should have taken his own life too. That's what he should have done... I will have to live with this shame for the rest of my life. People will always link me with him.


    Island death toll revised down to 68 - Norwegian police


    Norwegian police say eight people were killed in the Oslo blast.


    Norwegian police are giving a news conference right now.


    The previous death toll for the shootings on Utoeya island was 86.


    So in total, the known death toll is now 76, not 93. Explaining the confusion, police cited difficulties in gathering information at Utoeya.


    Britain's Olympics minister has said security plans for the 2012 Games will be re-examined in the wake of the attacks in Norway, according to AP news agency. Hugh Robertson said: "Clearly where there are lessons to be learned from Norway, we will learn them."


    All dead bodies found on the island have been taken to the mainland but the process of identification continues, police say.


    An underwater search for bodies in the lake around the island continued this morning, as this photo shows.

    An emergency worker prepares a mini-submarine to search the water for victims killed on Utoeya island, seen in the background, 25 July

    Police said they were still working on the island: "We are looking for possible people still left there and also as much documentation as possible. There is a lot of work ahead of us."

    Writer Michael Morpurgo

    reflects on the events in Norway in an essay first broadcast on the Today programme: "At Christmas time, every year since the Second World War, the Norwegians send us a Christmas tree to put up in Trafalgar Square. Wouldn't it be an idea, now, at this terrible time for the Norwegian people, to offer to plant a tree of ours on Utoeya, as a symbol of our solidarity and friendship with them?"


    Police say today's hearing was held in a closed court because they were "worried about giving out too much information". "One of the reasons was that we thought that other people might be implicated."


    Police point out that Mr Breivik appeared to contradict himself, saying variously he had acted alone and had worked with two other "cells".


    Nobody has been arrested in Poland with links to the Breivik case - Norwegian police.


    Investigation into Mr Breivik's links to Poland still going on - Norwegian police.

    1631: From the BBC's Kate Forbes in Oslo:

    A young Norwegian en route to an anti-racism march tonight in the capital: "There's a lot of us, most of our friends are going. We feel what's lost and we're here to show we are here to stand together."


    Police faced questions over the efficiency and speed of the response to Friday's attacks. "Of course there will be an investigation about what we can learn and whether we could have done it better," they tell reporters.


    Two psychiatrists are to assess Mr Breivik - police.


    Asked about Mr Breivik's behaviour today, police say he appeared to be calm. Mr Breivik started reading from his manifesto in court but was asked to stop, they tell reporters. When he asked why the hearing was closed, the judge gave him the reasons.


    Mr Breivik appeared to understand he might spend the rest of his life in detention, police say.


    Can see from a Twitter stream that gamers are upset about the link some journalists are drawing between violent games like Call of Duty and Mr Breivik's actions. "Not again..."

    Jevi in Nottingham, UK

    writes: I'm a Norwegian living in the UK. I have never felt such a sense of loss as the one Norway has just experienced. How so many people have been killed because of one man's ideology and hate is beyond me. A famous Norwegian poet, Nordahl Grieg, once said, "We are so few in this country, every fallen man is a brother or friend." We are all absolutely shocked and aggrieved.


    Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg had been attending camps on Utoeya island since 1974, he told the BBC.


    This photo shows the carpet of flowers and wreaths outside Oslo cathedral today

    Flowers outside Oslo cathedral, 25 July

    "We cannot completely, and I stress completely, rule out that others were involved in what happened" - prosecutor Christian Hatlo.


    It's a veritable field of flowers outside the cathedral, the BBC's Jon Sopel says.

    1655: From the BBC's Inga Thordar in Oslo:

    Law professor Stale Eskeland tells BBC he does not agree with the decision to hold the hearing in a closed court.

    Alan Rossi in Flora, Norway

    writes: As a Brit who's lived here for 30 years, I must say there's a strange feeling in the air. Norwegians have always been rather innocent, but this has shocked the entire nation to its core.

    1701: From the BBC's Home Affairs correspondent, Matt Prodger:

    Statement from UK anti-fascist organisation Searchlight: "Searchlight has found some links between Breivik and the British far right and will be revealing these shortly." Earlier today a spokesman said they were unaware of any links.


    It lasted three hours and one minute... See our timeline of Friday's terrifying events in Norway.


    Oslo and other Norwegian cities and towns are holding "flower marches" today to commemorate the victims, AFP news agency reports.

    Lee Jones-Abrahamsen in Oslo

    writes: During the return drive to Oslo today we listened to the radio in preparation for the one-minute silence. As it was declared that all the people of Norway, trains, buses and cars were to observe the minute's silence, we pulled over on to the hard shoulder. This was on the main E18 route to the capital. Every vehicle came to a stop. There were many that stood outside their vehicles in a service station and the rest sat in their cars. The motorway was completely empty in both directions with all vehicles on the hard shoulders. Both myself and my wife struggled to hold back our tears. It was a very strong and emotional experience to witness such a silence.

    Via Blog European Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmstroem

    writes: Sadly there are too few leaders today who stand up for diversity and for the importance of having open, democratic and tolerant societies where everybody is welcome.


    Just received a photo of some young people who spoke to the BBC on their way to an anti-racism march in Oslo today. Kristine and Andreas.

    Kristine and her friend Andreas in Oslo, 25 July
    Julie Danbolt in Brumunddal, Norway

    tweets: There's so many people here, we are having trouble moving. The whole city is stuffed. #solidaritymarch #utoya #oslo #fakkeltog


    "I think that ultimately he should have taken his own life rather than kill so many people" - the exact words of Jens Breivik about his long-estranged son. The retired diplomat was talking to Norwegian TV in an interview recorded earlier at his home in the south of France.


    EU officials want to speed up new controls on the sale of firearms and chemical substances such as those apparently used in the Norway bomb and shooting attack, AFP news agency reports from Brussels. "Compromise is easier to reach after shocking events such as those in Norway," a spokesman said.

    Jack in Drammen, Norway

    writes: I'm a Brit and I've been living here for eight years. It's hard to convey to the outside world just how innocent and protected Norway has felt until now. It has been a huge shock. The suggestion by Michael Morpurgo to offer a symbolic tree or plant from the UK for the island is a beautiful idea and would be hugely welcomed here as they have a deep and strong respect for and bond with the UK.

    1755: Norwegian journalist Ketil B Stensrud in Kristiansand

    tweets: BREAKING: PST, the Norwegian intelligence arm, had Anders Behring Breivik on a 'list' since March, VG newspaper reports.


    So we end today's live coverage of developments in Norway with what appears to be more embarrassing news for the country's security services, already being criticised for their slow response to the attacks on Friday.


Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.