World briefs - June 20
Norway killer slams court for focusing on his mental state
OSLO, Norway — Norwegian mass killer Anders Behring Breivik slammed the court Tuesday, saying his trial was centring too much on his mental state and not enough on politics and those who lost their lives.
The anti-Muslim fanatic has admitted to killing 77 people on July 22 in a bombing-and-shooting spree but denies criminal guilt because he considers the victims traitors of Norway for supporting immigration.
“It’s quite sad that the monster of Norwegian court psychiatry has managed to take over this case. It should have been about the victims and their families, and about the political basis and causes,” Breivik told the court. “Because July 22 is not about psychiatry, but about Norway’s and Europe’s future.”
Despite his claim, Breivik’s sanity, still an unresolved issue, is key to the case against him.
If found guilty and sane, the 33-year-old would face 21 years in prison, although he could be held even longer if deemed a danger to society. If declared insane, he would be committed to compulsory psychiatric care.
The subject was re-examined Monday and Tuesday in the last week of the trial at Oslo District Court, which will have to decide about Breivik’s mental state after hearing two contradictory reports.
Judge bars Fort Hood suspect from hearing for growing beard
FORT HOOD, Texas — An Army psychiatrist charged in a deadly shooting rampage at Fort Hood was barred from military court by the judge Tuesday because he still has a beard.
Maj. Nidal Hasan was told that he couldn’t attend any more hearings or the upcoming murder trial unless he shaves. The judge, Col. Gregory Gross, initially warned Hasan that he was violating Army policy at a hearing earlier this month.
The hearing on several other motions, including a possible trial delay, continued with Hasan watching on closed-circuit television from a nearby room.
Lead defence attorney Lt. Col. Kris Poppe has said Hasan grew the beard as a “deeply sincere” expression of his Islamic faith and because he has a premonition he will die soon.
Hasan faces the death penalty if convicted of 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder in the November 2009 attack at the Texas post.
Haitian constitution gives citizens abroad more rights
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — A new constitution that takes effect Tuesday gives 2 million Haitians living abroad more rights in their homeland, including the ability to run for some posts in government.
The amendments were approved last year but Haitian President Michel Martelly blocked them at the time because of unspecified errors.
The new constitution also paves the way for new Senate elections that would give Martelly a chance to bolster his now-tiny bloc of supporters in the legislature.
He fired the nine members of a provisional electoral council by decree in December but the new constitution enables him to form a permanent electoral panel.