Former President George W. Bush now has company. The trial of Norway mass killer Anders Behring Breivik was disrupted Friday when the brother of one of the victims killed in the massacre threw a shoe at the defendant.
Video screen capture
Anders Behring Breivik on trial on terror and murder charges.
"You killed my brother. Go to hell! Go to hell," 20-year old Hayder Mustafa Qasim yelled as he threw the shoe, which missed Breivik but hit one of his defense lawyers, Vibeke Hein Baera, who was sitting closest to the courtroom spectators, according to a report from Views and News from Norway, said CNN.
"I just wanted to give the killer a message," 20-year old Hayder Mustafa Qasim told Norwegian daily Aftenposten after the incident, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Breivik didn't get the message.
"If someone wants to throw something at me, do it at me while I'm entering or leaving, and not at my lawyer," Breivik said, according to a report from BBC News.
In the interview with Aftenposten, Qasim, who recently arrived in Norway from Iraq to attend the trial against the man who killed his 16-year old brother, said his reaction in court was spontaneous.
"I was constantly thinking about my brother. He is gone. My life is destroyed," Qasim said, adding that he couldn't understand how the people around him could stay calm in the face of what was being related in court. "They have had their lives destroyed by the killer. I started to shake," he told Aftenposten.
Just as the shoe-throwing was spontaneous, so was the applause. The incident brought spontaneous applause from members of the public in the courtroom, which during the first weeks of the trial had remained remarkably calm as Breivik recounted his crimes in detail, the Wall Street Journal reported.
As Police escorted Qasim from the courtroom, shouts of "Bravo!" followed by the spectators, CNN said.
Several commentators said the episode seemed to have released some tension.
"I think everyone understands that there is a lot of emotion in play here," Christin Bjelland, vice president of an organization representing victims' families, told VG. "We know that the victims' next of kin has reacted in many different ways. This is one way of reacting."
The shoe thrower was from Iraq, a country where the action is seen as a form of protest and grave insult because the bottom of shoes are unclean.
It's a way of reacting that the public has seen before.
Shoe throwing gained international attention in 2008 when an Iraqi journalist threw shoes at -- but missed -- at then-U.S. President George W. Bush during a news conference in Baghdad, where Bush was making a farewell visit.
Bush ducked, as the shoes, hurled one at a time, sailed past his head. The shoe-thrower, Muntadhar al-Zaidi, could be heard yelling in Arabic: "This is a farewell ... you dog!"
Friday's incident occurred as a prosecutor was finishing up a presentation on autopsy reports of victims shot by Breivik on Utoya Island, where 69 people were killed while attending a Labor Party summer youth camp.
Breivik boasts of being an ultranationalist who killed his victims to fight multiculturalism in Norway.