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In Norway, Confessed Mass Murderer Claims To Be 'Military Commander'

Saying "I am a military commander" of a "Norwegian resistance movement" and that prison is torture, the man who has already confessed to the July gun and bomb attacks in Norway that left 77 people dead made his first public court appearance today in Oslo.

As Anders Behring Breivik tried to continue with his statement, The Associated Press reports, he was stopped by the judge and told to focus on the purpose of today's hearing — to determine whether he should remain in jail "with restrictions on media access, visitors and mail," as prosecutors prepare their case.

Norway's TV-2 says Breivik also asked to be allowed to speak to relatives of the vicitims. That request was denied.

The July attacks began with a bomb explosion in Oslo and were followed soon after by a shooting spree on an island outside the city where teens were attending a political camp. The killer, witnesses and authorities said, was dressed as a police officer and methodically hunted down his victims. Sixty-nine of the fatalities were on the island.

Tim Vinskjer, who was on Utoya Island that day, swam to safety. Today he was at the hearing and afterward told national broadcaster NK that Breivik "was just so cold and inhuman" in court — "as I thought he must be."

Update/Correction at 8:20 a.m. ET: It appears that AFP/Getty Images misidentified the person in the courtroom photo that we had on this post earlier. It wasn't Breivik. Rather, it was one of his attorneys, Geir Lippestad. We've added a 2009 file photo that police say is of Breivik.

Our thanks to commenters Brad J and Notasanonymous AsIwishIwas for pointed that out and to NPR's Scott Neuman.

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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