Anders Behring Breivik, who carried out the 2011 Oslo bombings and the shooting at a Labour Party youth camp in Norway, killing a total of 77 people, is seeking an end to his isolation in prison, claiming it violates his human rights, in addition to demanding that the state lift restrictions on his communication with the outside world, on Monday, the 8th of January, reports Reuters.
Despite the severity of his crime, Norway prides itself on its judicial system’s focus on the rehabilitation of the accused. Breivik is currently being held in a high-security prison in Ringerike, where he has access to a range of facilities including a training room, kitchen, TV room and bathroom, and is allowed to keep three parrots as pets.
Terrorist Anders Breivik, who killed 77 people, tries to sue Norway for alleged human rights breach
Breivik believes that his solitary confinement since 2012 amounts to inhuman treatment under the European Convention on Human Rights.
Breivik, by the way, is being held in a… pic.twitter.com/QlH7vgotxf
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Breivik’s lawyer wrote in a document submitted to the Oslo District Court that more than a decade of isolation “without meaningful communication” has deeply affected Breivik, adding that
he is currently suicidal and taking anti-depressant Prozac to cope with his time in prison.
Ministry of Justice lawyers argue that Breivik should be isolated from prisoners because he remains a security threat, adding that isolation is “relative”, pointing out that he has contact with guards, a priest, health professionals, an outside volunteer whom Breivik no longer wants to see, and he can visit prisoners once every two weeks.
They feel that they need to control who he communicates with because there is a risk that he could inspire others to carry out attacks, especially those on the far right who might want to communicate with him because of the attacks he has carried out.
Breivik is serving a 21-year prison sentence, the longest a Norwegian court can impose,
which can be extended if he is deemed a threat to society, writes Reuters.
Breivik’s lengthy isolation is seen as unique, raising questions about when and how to relax security measures for a man who has planned and carried out terrorist attacks, said Knut Mellingsaeter Soerensen, associate professor at the Norwegian Police University College.
According to Reuters, Breivik also sued the country in 2016, claiming that it was violating the European Convention on Human Rights, including its articles which state that no one should be subjected to “torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”.
He won the case, but the judgement was later overturned before any restrictions were lifted.
Breivik’s case will be heard on Monday in a prison gym near Utoeya, and the judge’s verdict will be delivered without a jury in the coming weeks.
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