Daily Israel Report

Man Who Self-Immolated in Oslo 'Mentally Ill'

Police say there is no connection between a man who lit himself on fire outside a courthouse and the trial of Anders Behring Breivik
By Gabe Kahn
First Publish: 5/15/2012, 10:04 PM

Anders Behring Breivik
Anders Behring Breivik
Reuters

Police in Oslo say a man who set himself ablaze earlier on Tuesday outside the court where confessed mass murderer Anders Breivik is being tried was mentally ill.

Police told reporters the man did not appear to have any connections to the ongoing Breivik trial.

Before the incident the man entered the nearby office of local attorney Bente Roli, dropping off an envelope filled with “confused notes.”

“He was disturbed… very much. He has nothing to do with the July 22 events,” Roli told reporters, adding she was out of the office when the man came in, but her secretary met him.

“He was psychologically unstable and thought he was the victim of a conspiracy,” she said. “He thought everyone was after him because of the social problems he has.”

A video clip of the incident posted on Norwegian newspaper VG’s website showed the man setting himself on fire before stunned onlookers.

He walked up to police with flames shooting up from his sweater and hat yelling in a Scandinavian language.

He then ran toward the security checkpoint outside the court, but turned right just before the entrance, and slumped to the pavement screaming.  Police officers rushed up to him and tore off his burning sweater.

“There were police officers on site and the fire was put out quickly,” police operations leader Finn Belle said.

The self-immolation was the first security incident outside the Oslo district court since the trial began.

Last week, however, an Iraqi man whose brother was killed in the massacre threw a shoe at Breivik – hitting one of the defense lawyers – while screaming "Go to Hell! Go to Hell! You killed my brother!"

Breivik responded the shoe-throwing by smiling and sardonically advising those present that anyone who wanted to throw something at him could do so as he entered or exited the court, but not during proceedings.

He has confessed to the 22 June 2011 bombing and shooting attacks that left 77 dead, but pleaded not guilty claiming his acts were "cruel but necessary."

Breivik has described his victims as traitors to Norway who have allowed a "slow motion invasion" by Muslims by liberalizing immigration policies and embracing multiculturalism.

He showed little emotion during his five days of implacably and coldly delivered testimony, but did break down and weep at one point saying, "my country is dying."