Mass murder suspect defends actions
05:33 - Source: CNN

Editor’s Note: Follow CNN’s Diana Magnay’s Twitter feed from the court in Oslo.

Story highlights

NEW: Breivik's statement is "hard to hear, and it is difficult to understand," his attorney says

Breivik says militant nationalists learned from al Qaeda

The court rejects Anders Behring Breivik's request for televised testimony

A judge is disqualified for advocating the death penalty for the killer

Oslo, Norway CNN  — 

Anders Behring Breivik, who admits killing 77 people in Norway last summer, was trying to kill the prime minister and other government ministers by bombing a building in Oslo, he testified Thursday.

He planned his killings as a suicide attack, he said.

“I didn’t expect to survive that day,” he said Tuesday.

Breivik faces trial on charges of voluntary homicide and committing acts of terror in the July 22 rampage. Eight people died in a bombing in central Oslo, then 69 people were systematically gunned down at a youth camp on nearby Utoya Island.

Breivik testified Tuesday and Wednesday after declaring Monday that he had carried out the massacre but was not guilty because the killings had been necessary.

He rejected what he said would be prosecution efforts to portray him as a “pathetic and mean loser” and an “antisocial psychopath.” He said he represented a “European resistance movement” and “Europeans who don’t want our ethnic rights to be taken away.”

His lawyer, Geir Lippestad, said Breivik’s statement was “hard to hear, and it is difficult to understand.” But he said it was important to the trial, since his client wants people to see him as sane.

Lippestad said it was important to his client that people see him as sane.

Breivik’s trial on is expected to last up to 10 weeks. A court translator initially said Breivik was claiming self-defense as the justification, but court officials corrected that Tuesday, saying the correct legal term was “necessity.”

“He is very satisfied that he has been able to explain himself today as he wished,” Lippestad said. “It was very important for him to be allowed to read his written explanation that he had prepared. Now we will have four, five days where he can explain himself orally.”

Experts have given different opinions about Breivik’s sanity, which will be a factor in determining what punishment he receives if convicted. Sentencing options could include imprisonment or confining him to a mental facility.

Under examination by prosecutors, he claimed to be linked to two other individuals in Norway who are associated with the so-called Knights Templar ultranationalist movement. He said “militant nationalists” had drawn tactical inspiration from Osama bin Laden’s terror network.

“We’ve taken a bit from al Qaeda and militant Islamists, including the glorification of martyrdom” and organization into one-man cells, Breivik said. He denied that what he called the “militant nationalist” movement was evil.

“We don’t act to be evil. We’re trying to save our nations, our ethnic group and our culture,” he said.

Most of the victims’ relatives did not want Breivik’s remarks televised, and presiding Judge Wenche Elizabeth Arntzen rejected Breivik’s claim that airing it was a human right.

One of the judges was disqualified before the hearing began for saying online that the death penalty was the right punishment for Breivik. Both the prosecution and defense asked that Thomas Indrebo be removed for leaving a comment on a news website that “only the death penalty” would be the right thing in the case. Norway does not have the death penalty.

Breivik says his rampage was meant to save Norway from being taken over by multicultural forces and to prevent ethnic cleansing of Norwegians, said his lawyer, Geir Lippestad. In his manifesto, Breivik railed against Muslim immigration and European liberalism, including the Labour Party, which he said was allowing the “Islamification of Europe.” And in court, he called the trial political and objected to the judge’s friendship with a former justice minister.

Breivik has said his rampage was meant to save Norway from being taken over by multicultural forces and to prevent ethnic cleansing of Norwegians.

Prosecutors played a recording of a terrified girl phoning for help during the shooting rampage, a recording punctuated by constant firing in the background. They also showed security camera video of the central Oslo bomb blast that killed eight people, images that participants in the trial watched with ashen faces.

Breivik sat in court without restraints, behind a bulletproof glass barrier set up to protect him during the six hours of proceedings. Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg vowed to double down on Norway’s traditions of liberal democracy in response to the attacks, and Breivik’s trial appears to be no exception.

On Tuesday, he said he wept as he watched the film because he was thinking about his country and ethnic group dying. Lawyers for the victims had said Monday that “No one thought he was crying for the victims.”

Lippestad said the trial “is going very well so far, in a very ordered way.”

“It is no circus, and you can tell that this is a dignified and good way to determine his guilt,” he said.

CNN’s Per Nyberg and Marilia Brocchetto contributed to this report.