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Norwegian judge considering closing hearing for suspect in terror attacks from start
OSLO, Norway (AP) ' A Norwegian court says a judge is considering closing the first hearing for the suspect in the country's twin terrorist attacks on downtown Oslo and an island retreat.
Typically, a judge makes a decision about whether to close a hearing while in open court. It is unusual for such a decision to be made beforehand.
It's clear from a manifesto suspect Anders Behring Breivik published online to describe the planning and motivation of the attacks that he's looking for a platform to air his belief that Europe must be saved from Muslim colonization.
Oslo District Court spokeswoman Irene Ramm says the prosecution has asked for the court to be closed from the beginning of the hearing on Monday.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.
OSLO, Norway (AP) ' The man who confessed to the twin attacks that killed 93 people in Norway will be arraigned in court Monday and has requested an open hearing for his first appearance so that he can explain his massacre to the public.
But prosecutors have asked that the court be closed to the public and media. It's clear from a manifesto Anders Behring Breivik published online to describe the planning and motivation of the attacks that he's looking for a platform for his belief that Europe must be saved from Muslim colonization; he has said that the killings themselves were "marketing" for the manifesto.
His lawyer Geir Lippestad told Norwegian broadcaster NRK that Breivik has requested to appear in a uniform during the hearing, but didn't know what kind.
In the document, Breivik describes how he would turn the court appearance into theater.
Prosecutors have asked that the 32-year-old suspect be held for eight weeks, said Oslo District Court spokeswoman Irene Ramm.
Breivik has confessed he was behind the bombing in downtown Oslo and shooting massacre at a youth camp outside the capital, but denies criminal responsibility. In his manifesto and comments to his lawyer, he has said he wanted to start a revolution to inspire Norwegians to retake their country from Muslims and other immigrants. He blames liberals for championing multiculturalism over Norway's "indigenous" culture.
Typically, the accused is brought to court every four weeks while prosecutors prepare their case, so a judge can approve his continued detention. In cases of serious crimes or where the defendant has admitted to the charges, longer periods of detention are not unusual.
Oslo on Monday began to return to normal. A wide police cordon around the bomb site was lifted on the first workday since the attacks, leaving just a narrower zone closed off. Most shops were open and the tram was rumbling through the city's streets.
But the flag on the courthouse where Breivik will appear remained at half staff, and the world's media was buzzing around the building.
Norway and neighboring countries will observe a minute of silence at noon (1000 GMT) in honor of the victims.
The search for more victims continues and police have not released the names of the dead. But Norway's royal court said Monday that those killed at the island retreat included Crown Princess Mette-Marit's stepbrother, an off-duty police officer, who was working there as a security guard.
Court spokeswoman Marianne Hagen told The Associated Press that his name was Trond Berntsen, the son of Mette-Marit's stepfather, who died in 2008.
Meanwhile, French police are searching the suspect's father's home Monday. About a dozen officers surrounded the house in Couranel in southern France, entering and leaving at irregular intervals. The house is cordoned off, and reporters do not have access.
The regional gendarme service confirmed the house was that of Anders Behring Breivik's father but would not comment on the search operation. News reports have said Breivik's father, Jens Breivik, has not been in touch with his son in many years.
The attacks rattled Norway, a small and wealthy country unused to political violence, and known internationally as a peace mediator, prominent foreign aid donor and as home of the Nobel Peace Prize. Survivors of the camp shooting on the Utoya island described how a gunman dressed in a police uniform urged people to come closer and then opened fire, sending panicked youth fleeing into the water.
Police say 86 people were killed. About 90 minutes earlier, a car bomb exploded in the government district in central Oslo, killing seven.
More than 90 people were wounded, and others remain missing at both crime scenes.
Breivik laid out his extreme nationalist philosophy as well as his attack methods in a 1,500-page manifesto. It also describes how he bought armor, guns, tons of fertilizer and other bomb components, stashed caches of weapons and wiping his computer hard drive ' all while evading police suspicion and being nice to his neighbors.
Dr. Colin Poole, head of surgery at Ringriket Hospital in Honefoss northwest of Oslo, told The Associated Press that the gunman used special bullets designed to disintegrate inside the body and cause maximum internal damage. Poole said surgeons treating 16 gunshot victims have recovered no full bullets.
"These bullets more or less exploded inside the body," Poole said. "It's caused us all kinds of extra problems in dealing with the wounds they cause, with very strange trajectories."
Ballistics experts say "dum-dum"-style bullets also are lighter in weight and can be fired with greater accuracy over varying distances.
Associated Press writers Angel Charlton in Paris, Sarah DiLorenzo in Stockholm and Shawn Pogatchnik in Oslo, Norway contributed to this report.