Man hurls shoe at Breivik in court
An Iraqi man whose brother was killed in Norway's worst peacetime massacre has hurled a shoe at the confessed killer Anders Breivik during his terror trial. He also urged him to "go to hell" in a rare outburst during the hearing in Oslo.
The incident was the first display of anger inside the normally subdued court room where the far-right fanatic is being tried for the bomb-and-shooting attacks that left 77 people dead on July 22.
Hayder Mustafa Qasim, 20, travelled to Norway from Baghdad this week to attend the proceedings, said his lawyer, Kari Nessa Nordtun. His brother Karar Mustafa Qasim, a 19-year-old who had moved to Norway as an asylum-seeker, was among the victims of Breivik's shooting rampage at a youth camp.
"I took off my shoe, got up, shouted at the killer, got eye contact with him and threw the shoe," Mr Qasim told the Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten.
"He was alone in Norway, without family," Mr Qasim said of his brother. "The killer took his life. And he ruined the life for me and the family. I have travelled from Iraq to Norway to be in court. And it has made an enormous impression on me."
Throwing of shoes to insult someone has long been a form of protest in many countries, but the practice gained widespread attention when an Iraqi threw his shoes at then-US President George W Bush at a televised news conference in Baghdad in 2008 during the Iraq war.
Witnesses said forensic experts were going through post mortem reports for some of the victims when a man in the second row suddenly stood up and threw a shoe at a desk where Breivik and his defence lawyers were seated.
"He shouted, 'You killer, go to hell.' And repeated it several times" in English, said Mikaela Akerman, a Swedish journalist who was in the court room. The shoe hit one of Breivik's defence lawyers but she was not hurt.
Breivik remained calm and "smiled a little" as he watched security guards apprehend the man and take him out of the court room, Ms Akerman said. "He keeps shouting and is crying heavily as he's being led out," she said. "Some of the spectators clapped their hands. Some yelled 'Bravo.' Many others started crying."
Breivik addressed the court as proceedings resumed after a 10-minute break. "If someone wants to throw something at me, you can do it when I walk in or when I leave, thank you," he said. Police operations leader Rune Bjoersvik downplayed the outburst, calling it a "spontaneous and emotional reaction" that did not pose a "serious security risk".