Survivors of Anders Breivik's brutal 2011 terror attacks have called for him to be denied further media attention after he used his first parole hearing on Tuesday as a platform to continue spreading his neo-Nazi ideology.
With a shaven head and dressed in a dark suit, Breivik made a white supremacist sign with his fingers before raising his right arm in a Nazi salute to signal his far-Right ideology as he entered the court.
He also carried homemade signs printed in English with the words “Stop your genocide against our white nations” and “Nazi-Civil-War”.
The far-Right extremist killed 77 people in Norway’s worst peacetime atrocity in July 2011. He killed eight with a car bomb in Oslo and then gunned down 69, most of them teenagers, at a Labour Party youth camp on the island of Utoya.
“Our position is that it is necessary with (continued) confinement to protect society,” Hulda Karlsdottir, the public prosecutor, told Reuters ahead of the hearing.
"I feel it's quite absurd that he is allowed so much attention by asking for his release after only 10 years," Lisbeth Kristine Royneland, who lost her 18-year-old daughter on Utoya, told NRK ahead of the trial.
The hearing saw Breivik argue that he should be released after just over ten years in jail because he had now rejected violence as a way of promoting his Nazi ideas. He has called Par Oberg, a leading Swedish neo-Nazi, to testify for him.
He also claimed to have been brainwashed into carrying out the attacks in 2011 by a shadowy organisation, which appears, like the Knights Templar he claimed to represent at the time of his attack, to be his own creation.
Breivik, now 42, changed his legal name to Fjotolf Hansen but will be referred to throughout court proceedings by his former name. He is serving Norway’s maximum sentence of 21 years, which can be extended indefinitely if he is deemed a continued threat to society.
The Telemark court in Skien, southwest of the capital, where Breivik is serving his sentence, will hear the case this week after the Oslo state prosecutor’s office last year rejected Breivik’s application for early release.
Proceedings will take place over a maximum of four days in a prison gymnasium converted into a makeshift courtroom, with a decision expected about a week later.
Randi Rosenqvist, a prison psychiatrist, has been called as one of the witnesses in the hearing. She told the newspaper Verdens Gang that her assessment had not changed since 2013 when she found Breivik “would again be able to carry out acts of violence if he found it opportune”.
“I can confirm that the conclusions previously made public are not significantly different from those that have been made now,” she said.
The editor of Norwegian daily newspaper Dagsavisen has said the paper's coverage of the hearing would be "extra cautious", partly to protect those who find seeing and listening to Breivik painful, and partly to avoid giving his views more airtime.
"Dagsavisen will not allow him to portray himself as he wants - neither in pictures nor in quotes from the court," Eirik Hoff Lysholm wrote in a statement on Monday. "He wants to use the court case as a platform for his insane ideas, and we won't contribute to that."
Miriam Einangshaug, who survived the far-right militant's gun massacre on the island of Utoya, praised the decision as "extremely good".
"This was a person who tried to kill me and who killed my friends, so of course [the media coverage] hurts," she told Norway's state broadcaster NRK ahead of the trial.
Some people have called for reporting on his parole hearing to be further restricted.
"I think it's absolutely insane that you spend resources on this at all," wrote one reader on Dagsavisen’s Facebook page. "The public simply needs to be aware that he requested release and that his request was denied. Full stop."
Other papers have taken a different approach.
Norwegian tabloid Dagbladet defended its decision to give the trial full coverage.
"We believe that it is important that the public themselves can see and hear how the terrorist behaves, expresses himself and argues," the newspaper's leader writer Martine Aurdal wrote.
Daily paper Verdens Gang said in an editorial that the case would be "a difficult reminder of the pain the perpetrator has inflicted on them", but made no promise to limit its own coverage of the trial.
Breivik is serving Norway’s maximum sentence of 21 years, which can be extended indefinitely. A decision on his parole request is expected next week.
In Skein prison, Breivik has three cells to himself in the high-security wing. The cells are equipped with video game consoles, a television, a DVD player, electronic typewriter, newspapers and exercise machines. He also has daily access to a larger exercise yard.
The mass murderer lost a human rights case in 2017 when an appeals court overturned the decision of a lower court that his near-isolation was inhumane. The European Court of Human Rights rejected a subsequent appeal.