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Suspected Oslo mosque shooter appears in court bruised, beaten but smiling

By
Darryl Coote
Philip Manshaus, charged with murder and attempted act of terror, appears in court for his detention hearing, in Oslo, Norway, on Monday. Photo by Cornelius Poppen/EPA-EFE
Philip Manshaus, charged with murder and attempted act of terror, appears in court for his detention hearing, in Oslo, Norway, on Monday. Photo by Cornelius Poppen/EPA-EFE

Aug. 13 (UPI) -- A Norwegian man accused of opening fire on an Oslo mosque and killing his stepsister over the weekend arrived in court bruised, beaten and smiling.

Philip Manshaus, 21, the man accused of injuring two people at the Al-Noor Islamic Center in an Oslo suburb Saturday before being subdued by a bystander, appeared in court Monday with two black eyes and wounds to his neck and face.

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Though unclear how his face became wounded, it is believed the injuries may have been sustained during a fight in which he was disarmed by a worshipper at the mosque.

Following the attack, police said he had intended to kill worshippers at the mosque who were preparing for the start of the Muslim Eid holiday.

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After he was arrested, police raided his home where they found the body of his 17-year-old stepsister, whom they suspect was killed by Manshaus prior to the mosque shooting.

During his court appearance Monday, Manshaus only smiled, refraining from speaking during the hearing. Later, his lawyer, Unnie Fries, told reporters, "he will use his right not to explain himself for now."

The prosecution has asked for Manshaus to be held four weeks in pre-trial detention, mostly in isolation, while also requesting for media and visitor bans, CNN reported.

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"The prosecution will request closed doors to the prison meeting for the sake of danger of forfeiture, as the investigation is at an early stage and the accused has not provided an explanation to the police," the Oslo police department said in a press release.

Hans Sverre Sjovold, head of Norway's security agency, said in a news conference that they had received a "vague" tip about Manshaus a year ago but deemed it not enough to follow up on.

He said his organization receives hundreds of tips a day and at the time it wasn't considered proof of "an imminent terror planning."

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Manshaus's lawyer, Fries, declined to comment on Norwegian news media reports that stated his client was inspired by 28-year-old Australian Brenton Tarrant, who is accused of killing 51 people at two Christchurch, New Zealand, mosques in March.

Police also said Monday that the suspect was wearing a GoPro camera attached to a helmet when he entered the mosque, from which evidence has been obtained.

On Sunday, Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg called the shooting a "direct attack on Norwegian Muslims."

"It was an attack on religious freedom," she said in a statement on Facebook. "It was an attack on the right to mean and believe in what you want."

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She said though it appears to have only been conducted by one person, his beliefs are harbored by others in the country.

"We know that the attitudes are shared by several," she said. "However, we are over 5 million. And today we stand shoulder to shoulder with Norwegian Muslims in condemnation of the attack and for the right to safely be able to believe in the one you want and what you want in Norway."

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