Utoya scars 'the price for democracy'

2012-05-23 15:58

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Oslo - A girl who at the age of just 14-years-old survived Anders Behring Breivik's shooting massacre on Utoya island last year showed her large scars to an Oslo court on Wednesday, describing them as her dues to democracy.

"I am not afraid to show my scars," Ylva Helene Schwenke said, pulling at her collar to reveal a large red mark at the base of her neck.

"I feel like it's a kind of victory. We have paid the price for democracy and we have won," she added.

Many onlookers in room 250 of the Oslo district court expressed admiration for the now 15-year-old's words, while Breivik looked on with the same smile that often lingers on his lips as witnesses contradict his anti-democratic ideology.

On 22 July, the 33-year-old right-wing extremist first bombed a government building in Oslo, killing eight people, before going on a shooting rampage on Utoya island, northwest of the capital, where the ruling Labour Party's youth wing was hosting a summer camp.

Sixty-nine people died on the island, most of them teens.

Hazy memories

Breivik has confessed to the twin attacks but has refused to plead guilty, insisting they were "cruel but necessary" to stop the Labour Party's "multicultural experiment" and the "Muslim invasion" of Norway and Europe.

Shot in the throat, the stomach and both thighs, Schwenke recalled how she had thought she was going to die on Utoya.

"I have seen films where people die from one bullet. So with four, I thought that it was impossible to survive," she told the court on the 23rd day of the 10-week trial.

"Lying on the ground, I waited for the light or the darkness, whatever happens when you die," she added.

The young girl says her memories from when she was finally evacuated by boat remained hazy: "I only remember that they [the rescue workers] cut up my favourite bra," she said, sparking laughter in the courtroom.

While Breivik will certainly be found guilty, his trial should determine the tricky question of his sanity, after two court-ordered psychiatric evaluations reached opposite conclusions.

If the five judges determine that he is sane when they hand down their verdict in July, Breivik will likely face Norway's maximum 21-year prison sentence, but that term can be extended for as long as he is considered a threat to society.

If he is found criminally insane however, he will be sent to a closed psychiatric care unit for treatment.

Read more on:    anders behring breivik  |  norway  |  norway attacks
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