Survivors of the Norway youth camp massacre relived their terrified attempts to escape as they gave evidence at the Anders Breivik trial today.
They told about their panicked attempts to hide during the rampage, after the court turned down Breivik’s request to question them.
Tonje Brenna, a leading member of the Labor Party’s youth wing, described how she sought shelter behind rocks on the shore of Utoya island on July 22 as her colleagues were shot around her. The 24-year-old told the Oslo court she “smelled gunpowder” from her hiding place, “it stung in my eyes.”
Another witness, a local resident, described going out in his boat expecting to be shot as he plucked terrified youths from the water as they tried to swim away from the island.
Breivik has admitted killing 69 people on the island, and another eight in a car bomb attack a few hours earlier in Oslo.
Breivik has said he considered the Utoya camp a legitimate target because he claims the Labor Party betrayed Norway by supporting multiculturalism. He claims he is an anti-Muslim resistance fighter on a campaign to protect Norway’s cultural identity.
Since he has admitted his actions, Breivik’s mental state is the key issue for the trial to resolve.
If found guilty and sane, Breivik would face 21 years in prison, although he can be held longer if deemed a danger to society. If declared insane, he would be committed to compulsory psychiatric care.
The trial is expected to last up to the end of June.