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Norway mosque shooter appears at court hearing

A Norwegian man suspected of killing his stepsister and opening fire in a mosque near Oslo in August has appeared in court.

Norway mosque shooter appears at court hearing
Philip Manshaus and his lawyers at a previous court hearing. Photo: AFP

22-year-old Philip Manshaus, who faces terror charges, appeared for a brief court session at which his preliminary detention was extended, Norwegian media including VG reported.

Manshaus was initially remanded in custody in August, suspected of murder and a “terrorist act” that police say he filmed himself committing.

Previous hearings have been conducted behind closed doors, but Monday’s was not, enabling media to attend.

The press is generally not allowed to detail such hearings, but Oslo District Court lifted the ban, allowing statements by the 22-year-old to be made public, VG writes.

He gave the Nazi salute before taking his place next to his lawyers, Audun Beckstrøm and Unni Fries, in the courtroom, according to the newspaper’s report.

The defence lawyers declined to comment on the gesture or Manshaus’ reason for giving it.

He was allowed to read a statement in which he explained why he killed his stepsister and attacked the Al-Noor Mosque near Oslo in August.

He claimed his motive was a desire to protect “his people” and future generations and made reference to a “race-based conflict between different groups”, according to VG’s report of the court meeting.

“He wanted to give reasons for his actions, but I can’t comment on the content (of what he said) due to the ban on discussing the minutes of the session. The press was present and can report if the ban is lifted,” Fries told VG.

Oslo Police District prosecutor Hilde Strand said the content of Manshaus’ statement was not “anything new” for police.

The 22-year-old has admitted killing his 17-year-old step sister Johanne Zhangjia Ihle-Hansen, who was found dead in her apartment in Bærum on August 10th.

He also admits attacking the mosque, but denies charges of terror.

He entered the Al-Noor mosque and opened fire before he was overpowered by a 65-year-old man, also on August 10th.

Just three worshippers were in the mosque at the time, and there were no serious injuries.

Police have said he has “extreme right views” and “xenophobic positions” and that he had filmed the mosque attack with a camera mounted on a helmet. He had initially denied the accusations.

His custody was extended by four weeks by the district court on Monday.

Police expect to complete their investigations in December and submit formal charges by Christmas.

READ ALSO: Norway mosque shooter 'has admitted the facts': Police

BREAKING

Swedish prosecutors upgrade Almedalen knife attack to terror crime

Prosecutors in Sweden are now treating the murder at the Almedalen political festival as a terror crime, with the country's Säpo security police taking over the investigation.

Swedish prosecutors upgrade Almedalen knife attack to terror crime

In a press release issued on Monday evening, the Swedish Prosecution Authority, said that the 32-year-old attacker, Theodor Engström, was now suspected of the crime of “terrorism through murder”, and also “preparation for a terror crime through preparation for murder”. 

Engström stabbed the psychiatrist Ing-Marie Wieselgren last Wednesday as she was on her way to moderate a seminar at the Almedalen political festival on the island of Gotland. 

Although he was a former member of the neo-Nazi Nordic Resistance Movement, police said his motive seemed to be to protest against Sweden’s psychiatry services, who he felt had treated his own mental illness badly. 

The release gave no details as to why the 32-year-old was now being investigated for a more serious crime, but terror expert Magnus Ranstorp told the Expressen newspaper that the shift indicated that police had uncovered new evidence. 

READ ALSO: What do we now know about the Almedalen knife attack? 

“The new crime classification means that they’ve either found a political motive for the attack which meets the threshold for terrorism, and that might be a political motive for murdering Ing-Marie Wieselgren,” he said. “Or they might have discovered that he was scouting out a politician, or another target that could be considered political.” 

Engström’s defence lawyer said last week that his client, who he described as disturbed and incoherent, had spoken in police interrogations of having “a higher-up target”. 

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