Entries in Trial (41)


Norway Shooter Anders Breivik Gets the Stage at Trial’s Close

ODD ANDERSEN/AFP/Getty Images(OSLO, Norway) -- After closing arguments today, a Norwegian court will determine the fate of Anders Breivik, the right wing extremist who confessed to killing 77 people -- most of them teenagers -- in a rampage in Norway last July. But the shooter may have already won part of what he wanted all along: a world stage to spread his anti-Muslim message.

At the end of his trial, which began in April, Breivik took the stand to say that he was justified in killing dozens of youths at a summer camp for the country's liberal party and that history would exonerate him, according to local and international media reports. Breivik, who has confessed to the killing, said it was "self-defense," a preemptive strike against Muslims and "multi-culturalism" he believed were taking over Europe.

"History shows that you have to commit a small barbarism to prevent a bigger barbarism," the 33-year-old Norwegian said Friday. "The attacks on July 22 were preventive attacks to defend the indigenous Norwegian people... I therefore demand to be acquitted."

In what was described as a rambling statement, Breivik also decried perceived faults in the world, everything from Norwegians with non-Norwegian roots participating in the Eurovision Song Contest to the flippant attitude towards sex featured in the television series Sex in the City. Breivik claimed that fellow right-wing compatriots were behind a recent bomb scare at a Swedish nuclear plant.

Family members of several of Breivik's victims who were present in the court reportedly responded to the diatribe by walking out.

The court is expected to rule on the issue of Breivik's sanity before passing sentence. He will either be sent to prison or a psychiatric facility. Prosecutors have asked that he be ruled insane, but Breivik has argued that he was sane during the shooting and considered being called insane the "ultimate humiliation."

Regardless of the outcome, Breivik appears to have accomplished a key part of his plan to battle mutli-culturalism, as laid out in a 1,500-page manifesto posted online just before the massacre.

The meticulous manifesto describes a 60-year "war" against minorities in Europe waged by a secret group called the new Knights Templar and says that getting arrested is all part of the plan.

"Your arrest will mark the initiation of the propaganda phase," Breivik wrote. "Your trial offers you a stage to the world."

"In light of your newly acquired status as a living martyr for the cause, this newly acquired influential position will allow you to significantly contribute to further consolidation of either a national or pan-European Overseer organization or the establishment of a national prison movement (preferably political)," he says. "Alternatively: Escape from prison and initiate your 'bonus operation.'"

As of this report, no new right-wing pan-European Overseer organization has been identified.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Prosecutors: Alleged Norway Killer Played 'World of Warcraft' 7 Hours Per Day

ODD ANDERSEN/AFP/Getty Images(OSLO, Norway) -- Anders Breivik, the right-wing extremist who has confessed to killing 77 people during a murder spree in Norway last summer, played the violent computer game World of Warcraft nearly seven hours a day for several consecutive months before his attack, prosecutors say.

Breivik, 33, already known to have a long history with the online role-playing game, was particularly absorbed by it between November 2010 and February 2011, when he played for an average of 6 hours and 50 minutes per day, according to prosecutors.

The new evidence in Breivik's ongoing trial was presented in an Oslo court on Wednesday. When asked about his interest in the game by a prosecutor, Breivik angrily dismissed the idea that playing World of Warcraft had any connection to his attacks, according to media reports.

"It is not relevant to this case whatsoever," Breivik said, getting so upset that he threatened to turn off his microphone, according to Norwegian newspaper Verdens Gang.

On July 22, 2011, Breivik detonated a bomb in central Oslo that killed eight people, and then shot and killed 69 people attending a youth summer camp on the nearby island of Utoya. Breivik admitted mounting the attacks after his arrest, and used weapons named after Norse gods to massacre his victims.

He has previously stated that he played Warcraft, as well as another "first-person shooter" game called Modern Warfare, for hours daily.

In Warcraft, players assume the identity of an online character to use magic and weapons to battle monsters and other characters and go on quests.

According to prosecutors, Breivik played Warcraft under the aliases "Andersnordic" and "Conservatism."

Norwegian anthropologist Thomas Hylland Eriksen, who was brought in as an expert witness for Breivik's defense earlier this year, said in an interview with the British network ITN that Breivik was apparently unable to separate games from reality.

"He does not seem to be very successful at distinguishing between the virtual reality of World of Warcraft and other video games and reality," Eriksen said.

In a March 2008 post on a Web forum devoted to the game, user "Andersnordic" posted that the game had been responsible for making him "300kg, bald and pale," and told the game's developer Blizzard Entertainment, "You'll hear from my lawyer!"

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Murder Trial of Iraqi VP Starts Without Him

Hemera/Thinkstock(BAGHDAD) -- The Iraqi government Tuesday began the trial of Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi, who is accused of running death squads that have allegedly killed dozens of Shiite officials.

Al-Hashemi, on the lam since being indicted last December, is believed to have taken refuge in Turkey for medical treatment.

Despite his absence, prosecutors called former bodyguards of the country's highest-ranking Sunni leader to the witness stand to deliver testimony against their old boss.

Some of the witness accused al-Hashemi of ordering the murders of up to 150 people. 

Former bodyguard Ahmed Shawqi told the court that the Iraqi vice president "asked me to plant a car bomb near Buratha mosque, and I carried out the operation."

Al-Hashemi and his Sunni supporters maintain the charges are politically motivated and are an attempt by Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to consolidate power as he tries to marginalize Sunnis and Kurds.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Libya Defies International Court's Demand for Saif Gadhafi

DARIO LOPEZ-MILLS/AFP/Getty Images(TRIPOLI, Libya) -- Libya's new government has rebuffed the international body seeking to try Saif al-Islam Gadhafi for war crimes, instead showing off a new, specially built courtroom in Tripoli where it says the former Libyan strongman will stand trial instead.

"We will respect the international law but we do have a lot of respect for our Libyan law and I guarantee you there will be no problem," said interim prime minister Abdurrahim el-Keeb on Tuesday.

Last week the International Criminal Court, a Netherlands-based war crimes body established by the United Nations, ordered Libya to hand over the 39-year-old, who has been held prisoner by a militia since his capture last fall just weeks after his father's death. The ICC said Tuesday that Libya had asked for a delay until after the country can hold its own trial. Saif faces charges of corruption, murder and rape and could be sentenced to death.

The Libyan government told the ICC that it "regards the trial of Saif a matter of the highest national importance," according to an ICC statement.

Human rights groups have asked that the Libyans turn Saif over to the international court. "This clear ruling by the ICC judges should effectively bring an end to the long-running saga over the fate of Saif al-Islam," said Marek Marczynski, head of Amnesty International's International Justice Team, on April 5. "Libya must act on the ICC's decision and surrender Saif al-Islam al-Gaddafi without further delay. An unfair trial before a Libyan court where the accused could face the death penalty is no way to guarantee justice and accountability."

But the Libyan government has converted a former military school into a courtroom instead, complete with carpeting and a black wire cage for defendants, and has painted the building in the colors of the new Libyan flag. Meanwhile, Saif is still being held in Zintan, more than 100 miles from Tripoli.

The ICC said Wednesday that Saif had told ICC officials who met with him in Zintan in March that he wanted to be tried in Libya before being shipped to The Hague.

"I hope I can be tried here in my country, whether they will execute me or not," he told two ICC officials, according to a report dated March 5.

But the report also said Saif seemed to be making the statement for the benefit of the Libyan prosecutor, who was present during the interview.

The report also said that Saif seemed to indicate nonverbally that he had been mistreated, pointing to two damaged fingers on his left hand and a missing tooth.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Report: American Ex-Marine 'Spy' in Iran to Get Retrial

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- The American ex-Marine who was sentenced to death for allegedly spying for the CIA in Iran is getting a retrial, a judicial spokesperson said Monday according to an Iranian news agency.

A high court official told the semi-official Iranian Students' News Agency there were problems with 28-year-old Amir Hekmati's original trial and his death sentence has been annulled.

"There was an objection to the ruling in the Supreme Court and the court found fault with it and sent it to another branch with same level of authority," state prosecutor Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejehei said, according to the ISNA.

Hekmati, who was a U.S. Marine for five years before leaving the service for work at various security contracting agencies, was arrested during a visit to Tehran in late August, but his family kept the story out of the press after they said they were promised by the Iranian government that silence would help secure his release.

Then, in December, an Iranian television station showed a news report that featured the Arizona-born Hekmati "confessing" to being a CIA mole sent to infiltrate the Iranian intelligence ministry.

In an exclusive interview with ABC News after the alleged confession, Hekmati's father, Ali, said the accusations against his son are "absolutely, positively" wrong.

"My son is no spy. He is innocent. He's a good fellow, a good citizen, a good man," the elder Hekmati said. "These are all unfounded allegations and a bunch of lies."

Still, Amir Hekmati was sentenced to death by an Iranian court after a closed trial in January.

Then, Hekmati's mother, Behnaz, released a statement saying that she and her husband Ali were "shocked and terrified by the news that our son, Amir, has been sentenced to death. We believe that this verdict is a result of a process that was neither transparent nor fair." Lawyers in Iran had appealed the sentence.

Behnaz was reportedly allowed her first visit to Amir since his detention in late February.

A spokesperson for the Hekmati family did not immediately return requests for comment on this report.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Egypt Begins Prosecution of Americans on Illegal Fundraising Charges

Egyptian soldiers stand guard in front of the US National Democratic Institute. FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images(CAIRO) -- Before a trial that alleges as many as 19 Americans guilty of receiving illegal funding from foreign governments goes too much further in Egypt, the Obama administration is trying to work out a deal with the country.

Even before the trial got underway on Sunday, U.S. and Egyptian officials were discussing ways to work out an equitable solution that won't also affect the $1.3 billion aid package Cairo receives annually from Congress.

The Americans belong to non-government organizations (NGOs), such as the International Republican Institute and the National Democratic Institute, which aim to help Egypt transition to a democracy after President Hosni Mubarak was deposed last February.

According to the State Department, the charges brought against the NGOs and 43 pro-democracy activists are fallacious and an attempt to intimidate groups that have issues with the military council currently leading Egypt ahead of elections this spring.

As of now, the charges against the NGOs have widespread support among the population, giving them less of a reason to cut a deal with the U.S.

The prosecution is demanding that the Americans, some of whom sought refuge inside the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, be jailed.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Egyptian Prosecutors Call for Hosni Mubarak's Execution

AFP/Getty Images(CAIRO, Egypt) -- Prosecutors in Egypt are seeking the death penalty in the trial for ousted Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak.  In their closing arguments, lawyers against the former president said Mubarak, as the erstwhile leader of security forces, should be held responsible for the deaths of hundreds of citizens who protested his authority, The New York Times reports.

"He is responsible for what happened and must bear the legal and political responsibility for what happened," Mustafa Suleiman, the lead prosecutor, said, according to media reports.  Suleiman added that one would be "irrational" and "illogical" to believe that Mubarak had no knowledge protesters were targeted by security forces.

Defense attorneys for Mubarak, who is charged with conspiring to kill protesters in an attempt to retain power, are expected to deliver their closing arguments as early as next week.  A panel of judges may give their decision before the Jan. 25 anniversary of the protests that forced Mubarak out of office, according to the Times.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Trial Resumes for Overthrown Egyptian President Mubarak

AFP/Getty Images(CAIRO) -- The murder and corruption trial of Hosni Mubarak resumed Wednesday after a three-month break, with the ousted Egyptian leader returning to the metal defendant's cage in a Cairo courtroom. Authorities have charged Mubarak with the murders of over 800 protesters and financial crimes.

This latest session lasted only a few hours. The judge received new requests from defense lawyers who want to include incidents of violence after Mubarak's ouster.

The former Egyptian leader faces the death penalty if found guilty.  The hearing is adjourned until Jan. 2.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Zimbabwe Women Charged with Raping Men To Get Sperm for Rituals

Hemera/Thinkstock(JOHANNESBURG) -- Three women in Zimbabwe have been accused of raping at least four men to get their sperm for traditional rituals.  The women, who have been charged with 17 counts of aggravated indecent assault, go on trial Monday.

Police officials in Zimbabwe believe the alleged perpetrators are part of a nationwide syndicate that may be using the sperm for a traditional ritual claiming to make people lucky and wealthy.  They were apprehended in a town about 170 miles outside of the capital city of Harare after police found 31 used condoms in their car.

One of the alleged victims told his story on a popular national talk show called Maichiamba.  He said he was raped after accepting a car ride from the women.

"One of the women threw water in my face and they injected me with something that gave me a strong sexual desire.  They stopped the car and made me have sex with each of them several times, using condoms," he said.  "When they had finished they left me in the bush totally naked."

The man said he went to the hospital to be treated for the drug's effects and called the police.  After facing ridicule and scorn over the attack, he said he came forward publicly because he wanted to help other victims.

At least nine men have come forward with similar stories of being attacked.

The women have denied the charges, claiming they are prostitutes and did not have time to dispose of the condoms.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Khmer Rouge Trial for Cambodia’s 'Killing Fields' Gets Underway

Hemera/Thinkstock(PHNOM PENH, Cambodia) -- Thirty-three years after the end of the Khmer Rouge’s reign of terror in Cambodia left more than a million people dead at the hands of the communist group, three of its former leaders will go on trial Monday.

Some 1.7 million people were either executed or died of starvation in Cambodia from 1975-1979 when the ultra-Maoist Khmer Rouge forced millions from Cambodia’s cities and tried to turn the country into an agrarian society.  Professionals and the well-educated were considered threats to the regime and were imprisoned, tortured and often slain and dumped into mass graves that became known as the killing fields.

Nuon Chea, the right-hand man of Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot, Khieu Samphan, the head of state during the group’s reign, and Ieng Sary, the Khmer Rouge’s foreign minister, face charges of genocide and crimes against humanity.  The defendants are all in their 80s.

The U.N.-backed tribunal hearing has been moving at a snail’s pace. The judges on the panel were sworn in more than five years ago and the defendants have been in custody since 2007.  Pol Pot died in 1998.

Youk Chhang, the director of the Documentation Center of Cambodia, tells the BBC the survivors of the Khmer Rouge’s reign of terror want an explanation of why they killed fellow Cambodians.

Chhang says the trial is important because, “People just want to confirm that the Khmer Rouge leadership was guilty of crimes against their own population.”

“That’s going to be very important for the whole country to move beyond victimhood and develop,” he adds.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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