Norway mosque attack trial wraps up, verdict next week

International
Trial against Philip Manshau

Defendant Philip Manshaus appears in court on charges of murder and terrorism in Olso, Norway, Thursday May, 7, 2020. Manshaus suspected of killing his stepsister and then storming an Oslo mosque with firearms “with the intention to kill as many Muslims as possible,” has appeared in court, charged with murder and terror. Philip Manshaus has denied the charges. (Lise Åserud / NTB scanpix via AP)

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — A Norwegian man charged with murder and terrorism in the killing of his stepsister and the storming of an Oslo mosque should get the maximum 21 years in prison, a prosecutor said Wednesday on the final day of the trial.

Philip Manshaus, 22, is accused of first killing his 17-year-old stepsister by shooting her with a hunting rifle at their home in the Oslo suburb of Baerum on Aug. 10. Authorities say Manshaus then drove to a nearby mosque where three men were preparing for Eid al-Adha celebrations. He wore a helmet with a video camera attached and a bulletproof vest, police said.

Manshaus was armed with a hunting rifle and a shotgun and fired four shots with the rifle at a glass door before he was overpowered by one of the men in the mosque at the time. One person was slightly injured when they jumped on Manshaus inside the mosque.

“These actions upset the feeling of security we have in Norway, regardless of faith and ethnicity,” prosecutor Johan Oeverberg said Wednesday according to the Norwegian News Agency as the trial wrapped up after starting on May 7.

Authorities say Manshaus was inspired by the shootings in March 2019 in New Zealand, where a gunman targeted two mosques, killing 51 people, and in August 2019 in El Paso, Texas, where an assailant targeted Hispanics and left at least 22 dead.

Manshaus, who in court expressed regrets of not having caused more damage, “has proven to be an extremely dangerous person,” Oeverberg said.

Oeverberg demanded that Manshaus should be sentenced to prison for at least 14 years, but called for him to get the maximum 21 years. A verdict is expected next week.

Manshaus has already appeared at an Oslo court where he denied the charges. He has acknowledged the facts of what happened, but denies the accusation, saying he opposes non-Western immigration.

His plans and his nationalistic references also recall those of Norwegian right-wing extremist Anders Behring Breivik, who in 2011 killed 77 people in a bombing and shooting rampage. Breivik is serving a 21-year prison sentence for carrying out a terror attack.

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