News World Norway mosque shooting appears suspect in court with black eyes
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Norway mosque shooting appears suspect in court with black eyes

Philip Manshaus appears in court. Photo: Getty
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The man suspected of shooting at people inside a Norwegian mosque and of killing his stepsister has appeared in court with black eyes and wounds on his face and neck.

A judge gave police permission to hold 21-year old Philip Manshaus in custody for an initial four weeks while he is investigated on suspicion of murder and breach of anti-terrorism law, the court’s ruling showed.

Manshaus, who briefly smiled at photographers, does not admit to any crime, his lawyer said earlier on Monday.

Eyewitnesses said Manshaus entered the al-Noor Islamic Centre with several guns on Saturday, but was overpowered by a 65-year-old member of the mosque, who managed to wrestle away his weapons in the fight that followed.

A few hours after the mosque attack, police discovered the body of a young woman at what they said was the suspect’s address. Police later said she was his stepsister.

Manshaus did not speak while reporters were present, and has so far declined to talk to the police.

“He is exercising his right not to be interrogated,” defence lawyer Unni Fries said. “He is not admitting any guilt.”

Manshaus, whose home is near the mosque just outside the Norwegian capital, had expressed far-right, anti-immigrant views before the attack, police said.

Online postings under Manshaus’ name, made shortly before the attack, expressed admiration for the massacre at two New Zealand mosques in March by a suspected right-wing extremist, in which more than 50 people were killed.

Police sought to hold him on suspicion of murder, as well as of breaching anti-terrorism law by spreading severe fear among the population.

“The investigation is still in an early phase and the suspect has not made any statements to the police,” prosecutors said in a statement.

Norwegian police security service PST said on Monday it had received a tip-off regarding Manshaus last year, but had not launched an investigation at the time.

“There was nothing in that tip-off that suggested there was danger of an act of terrorism or that planning of an attack was under way,” PST head Hans Sverre Sjoevold told a news conference.

PST will now explore whether Manshaus had links to any domestic or foreign extremist networks, although investigators have said they believed he acted alone in the attack, Sjoevold said.

Any formal charges in the case and a trial are likely to still be months away.

A guilty verdict on charges of breaching anti-terrorism laws can carry a sentence of up to 21 years in prison, as can the killing of the suspect’s 17-year old stepsister.

-AAP