NORWEGIANS began a solemn day of memorials today for victims of last week’s bomb and shooting massacre, and the first funerals for the 76 victims were being held.
“Today it is one week since Norway was hit by evil,” Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg said at a memorial service in the “People’s House” assembly hall.
“We have to live with July 22, but together we will make it,” he said from a stage adorned with red roses, the symbol of his governing Labor Party.
In his speech, Labor Party youth-wing leader Eskil Pedersen said the gunman attacked Norway’s core values, such as democracy, tolerance and fighting racism.
“Long before he stands before a court we can say: he has lost,” Pedersen said. He vowed that the youth organisation would return to Utoya island – where the shootings occurred – next year for its annual summer gathering, a tradition that stretches back decades.
Another memorial service was being held at a mosque in an immigrant district of Oslo. The confessed attacker, a vehement anti-Muslim, was to undergo his second round of questioning by police.
Stoltenberg has urged his increasingly diverse Nordic nation to show unity at the services in the face of its deadliest assault during peacetime in a bombing in Oslo and a shooting rampage at a youth camp on Utoya.
Norwegian news agency NTB said suspect Anders Behring Breivik was picked up at a jail on Friday and transported to police headquarters in Oslo for a session of questioning.
Investigators believe the 32-year-old Norwegian acted alone, after years of meticulous planning, and haven’t found anything to support his claims that he’s part of an anti-Muslim militant network plotting a series of coups d’etat across Europe.
Breivik was questioned for seven hours on Saturday, the day after the twin attacks targeting the government district of Oslo and a youth camp of the prime minister’s left-leaning Labor Party on the island northwest of the capital.
He admitted to carrying out the attacks but has pleaded not guilty to terror charges, saying he’s in a state of war, according to his lawyer and police.
Police have charged Breivik with terrorism, which carries a maximum sentence of 21 years in prison. However, it’s possible the charge will change during the investigation to crimes against humanity, which carries a 30-year prison term, Norway’s top prosecutor Tor-Aksel Busch told The Associated Press.
“Such charges will be considered when the entire police investigation has been finalised,” he said. “It is an extensive investigation. We will charge Breivik for each individual killing.”
A formal indictment isn’t expected until next year, Busch said.
Prosecutors have appo invited two psychiatrists to assess Breivik’s mental health, police said.
The experts will determine if he is criminally responsible and deliver their report “by November 1”, prosecutor Paal-Fredrik Hjort Kraby told reporters after the 32-year-old gunman was questioned by investigators for a second time.
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