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Anders Breivik Trial: Survivor Eskil Pedersen Faces Killer For First Time

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A survivor of the Utoya massacre that left 69 people dead has described coming face to face with killer Anders Behring Breivik for the first time since the day of the shootings.
A survivor of the Utoya massacre that left 69 people dead has described coming face to face with killer Anders Behring Breivik for the first time since the day of the shootings.

A survivor of the Utoya massacre that left 69 people dead has described coming face to face with killer Anders Behring Breivik for the first time since the day of the shootings.

Eskil Pedersen, leader of the Norwegian Labour Party's youth league which was holding a summer camp on the island, was at the Oslo court for the first day of Breivik's trial.

He watched as the right-wing fanatic showed no emotion to the 77 names of those killed in the gun attack, and a bomb blast in the city centre, being read out.

The 28-year-old, who escaped Utoya unharmed, said: "I didn't know exactly how I would react, in advance.

"For me, I didn't have that many strong feelings when it came to seeing him and being in the same room as him. Really to look at him, when you have been in the same room for a couple of minutes, you know what he is like.


Armed police walk in the street outside the Oslo district courtroom

"He doesn't show that many feelings, so it's pretty much like looking at a picture when you see him in court."

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DAY TWO: Breivik In Court

The only time Breivik did react was to the playing of an anti-Muslim propaganda video that he posted on YouTube before last summer's attacks.

Pedersen said: "I didn't have any expectations or hopes for how he was going to react. It's not really the focus.

"I have much more feelings towards all of the families of the victims present in the same courtroom and much stronger feelings towards them, and how they must react to his being there and listening to the names of their children read by the prosecution."


The police van with terror charged Anders Behring Breivik leaves the Ila prison in Baerum, Norway

He said the most difficult part of the day was listening to a three-minute recording of his friend's frantic phone call to police from Utoya, once the attack was under way.

"Shots have been fired," Renate Taarnes, 22, said with panic in her voice. "I'm pretty sure that there are many injured."
More than a dozen shots in close succession were heard as Ms Taarnes fell silent. She escaped the massacre unharmed and is due to give evidence to the trial.

Pedersen said of the phone call: "That was one of the toughest things to go through yesterday. It is difficult to listen to the recordings of a person I know very well and listen to the fear in her voice and listen to the shots being fired in the background.


Prosecutors showed images of Breivik taken from his manifesto. A badge on the uniform read "Marxist Hunter"

"It really brings us back to July 22. But it was brutal, as brutal as reality was."

Referring to the dismissal of a lay judge this morning for saying online that Breivik deserves the death penalty, Mr Pedersen said it was important for the court to appoint a replacement to "preserve its integrity".

He said he had prepared himself for being "provoked by his message", however.
Breivik was today setting out his reasons for carrying out the massacre and Pedersen said the defendant's statement was "an important part of the trial".

Pedersen added: "My opinion is that he has set himself outside democracy. We use our freedom of speech to persuade people - he used weapons, terror, killing to do so.

"I have no intention of going into a political debate with this person. We know he wants to make the trial a political arena, but we know it is not a political arena. It is a trial on his actions, not his opinions.

"When the trial is done, we will, as a political organisation, work against the political ideas that he stands for and that, unfortunately, a lot more people both in Norway and around the world share.

"For me, I try to separate them. The trial is not a political arena - he wants to make it that. He will be able to say the things he wants to say, but it is not really that interesting."

He said it was right that Breivik's statement was not broadcast however, adding: "There are a lot of families of the victims, and of the people that were affected by July 22, that want to be able to avoid seeing him."

Pedersen, who is not due to give evidence himself during the 10-week trial, said the survivors had been waiting for the court case "for a long time" and added: "We have prepared well for it."

He said of the opening day: "It was a day with a lot of different experiences. To be in the same room as the gunman, to watch the video from the bomb blast on the governmental buildings which I had not seen before - very brutal, dramatic footage - and also to hear the voice recordings of the emergency recordings from the police, from people I know very well... there were a lot of mixed feelings during the day."

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