Being shot was price of democracy: Breivik victim

By Reuters 23 May 2012

Mass killer Anders Behring Breivik is a "cowardly little man," one of his teenage victims said on Wednesday, after showing a court the scars left by four bullets that had pierced her body. 

Ylva Helene Schwenke, 15, described how Breivik had shot her in the neck and then several more times as she lay bleeding on the floor, declaring the bullets she was hit with a price worth paying for democracy.

“He is a cowardly little man, really,” Schwenke told reporters after her testimony. “He shoots a 14-year old girl from behind then shoots me twice in the leg; that’s the most cowardly thing I’ve ever heard.”

Showing the court the extensive scars that still cover much of her body, she said:

“I have no problem showing my scars, I look at them as a symbol of victory. We have to pay a price for democracy but we won.”

One of Breivik’s youngest victims and the stepdaughter of Roger Ingebrigtsen, the deputy defence minister, Schwenke wore her wavy brown hair cut short enough to expose the scars on her neck, shoulder and throat.

“I may not be proud of these scars but I wear them with dignity,” she said.

Breivik killed 77 people on July 22, first detonating a car bomb outside government headquarters and killing eight, then gunning down 69 people, mostly teenagers, at the ruling Labour Party’s summer camp on Utoeya Island.

Though he admits the killings, he denies criminal guilt, saying his victims were political activists and traitors, whose support for Muslim immigration was diluting Norwegian ethnic purity.

Norway has kept remarkably calm throughout the 10-week trial. Most agree that even a monster must be given a fair hearing and that changing Norway’s judicial system for one man would threaten the very democracy that Breivik wanted to destroy.

The court’s main task is to decide whether Breivik was sane and whether he should be sent to jail or a psychiatric institution.

One court-appointed team of psychiatrists concluded he was psychotic, but a second team came to the opposite conclusion. The five judges hearing the case will take a final decision on his sanity at the end of the trial, expected in late June.

If deemed sane, Breivik faces a 21-year jail sentence which could be indefinitely extended for as long as he is considered dangerous.

Breivik has said he should either be executed or acquitted, calling the prospect of a prison sentence “pathetic”. If he were to be declared insane, he has said that would be “worse than death”. DM


Photo: Norwegian mass killer Anders Behring Breivik is seen in a courtroom in Oslo May 16, 2012. REUTERS/Stian Lysberg Solum/NTB scanpix


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