OSLO, Norway — The Norwegian gunman standing trial for murdering 77 people in bombing and shooting attacks last year told the court Wednesday that he wants the death penalty or acquittal.
“In my view, a 21-year prison term is a pathetic punishment,” Anders B. Breivik said on the third day of his trial. “I do not wish the death penalty, but I would respect the sentence,” he said. “There are only two outcomes in this case that I had respected, that is the death penalty or acquittal.”
Norway does not have the death penalty.
Breivik is charged with detonating a bomb that killed eight people outside government buildings in Oslo on July 22, and shooting to death 69 people at a summer youth camp run by the ruling Labour Party on an island near the capital.
The Oslo District Court where the trial is taking place was cordoned off by fences where people left roses and cards to commemorate the victims.
Breivik was quizzed about trips to London and Liberia and meetings with other “militant nationalists” in Europe before 2006, including the Knights Templar, an organization he described in his 1,500-page manifesto published online shortly before the attacks.
The prosecution has stated that it doubted the existence of Knights Templar, but Breivik declined to offer details even when questioned about entries he had made in the manifesto, such as taking part in a founding meeting of the anti-Muslim Knights Templar group.
Breivik said he told the police “98 percent of the truth,” withholding information to shield others.
But during Wednesday’s cross-examination he backed away from the remark, saying “what I implied was (being) commander of a cell. It was just a pompous way of describing a foot soldier connected with others.”
The Knights Templar could, however, be compared to al-Qaida, he said, adding that the Islamist terrorist network was a greater inspiration for him than a Norwegian anti-Islamist blogger who was due to testify later in the trial.
Breivik repeated an earlier claim that there were two other one-man cells in Norway. Police have said they have not been able to trace other accomplices.
More strain and grief was due as the cross-examination will Thursday focus on how he planned and carried out the July 22 bombing. On Friday the prosecution will focus on the shooting attack.