NEWS
25/07/2011 04:26 BST | Updated 23/09/2011 06:12 BST

Anders Breivik Hearing Held Behind Closed Doors After Online Petition

The man accused of killing nearly 100 people in two terror attacks in Norway appeared in court behind closed doors after judges ruled to make his hearing private.

Anders Breivik arrived at an Oslo court on Monday afternoon shortly after a one minute's silence was held across the country for the 93 victims. The hearing ended around 30 minutes later, the AFP news agency reported. A police statement is expected later in the day.

The decision to hold the hearing in private came after online campaigners petitioned the court to close its doors to the public and media, saying Breivik should not be given a platform.

More than 61,000 people urged the court to be closed through a campaign on Facebook.

They wrote: " Do not allow this murderer a world stage to stand on. Close the doors to the hearing on Monday! He wants to have open doors so that the recording can then be shown on TV stations worldwide.

"The need to get an insight into the sick thoughts that may have motivated this monstrous act should not give way to his ultimate desire. We should not allow him to realize his dream and fulfil his greatest desire, which is to be the focus of world attention.

"We should not allow him to use the cameras and microphones that will be aimed at him as a platform to send his hate filled ideals directly to the world. Once he has been tried for this horrific act we will know what reasons he gave in court. So shut the doors on Monday!"

Breivik wrote a 1,500-page "manifesto" of racist hatred before carrying out the country's deadliest atrocity since World War II and one of the world's worst shooting rampages in history.

In the manifesto, published online just before the attacks, he rallied against multiculturalism and Muslim immigration to Europe.

Breivik's lawyer Geir Lippestad had said his client wants to wear military uniform in the court, telling state broadcaster NRK: "He has two wishes: the first is that there is a public hearing and the second is that he is allowed to wear a uniform".

However it was not clear what attired he wore for the appearance.

When interrogated earlier, Breivik reportedly said the attacks were "cruel" but "necessary" and is expected to plead not guilty.

If convicted, Breivik's maximum time in jail would be just 21 years. However it is possible under Norwegian law for his sentence to be extended if he is deemed a threat to the public.