Norway has dismissed gripes by mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik’s that his conditions in prison – where he is serving 21 years for killing 77 people in 2011 – violate his human rights.
Breivik, who is held apart from others at a high-security facility, is suing the Norwegian state, accusing it of “inhuman” and “degrading” treatment in violation of the European Convention on Human Rights.
Ahead of the March 15-18 hearing, however, the office of the attorney general defended Breivik’s conditions in jail.
“The measures which have been applied to the plaintiff ... are well within the limits of what is permitted” under the Convention, it said in a document submitted to the Oslo district court and published yesterday.
The document said that Breivik had access to three cells – one for living, one for studying, and a third for physical exercise – as well as a television, a computer without internet access and a game console, and that he was able to prepare his own food and do his own laundry.
While he is allowed no contact with other inmates, also for security reasons, he interacts with guards and professional staff, the attorney general’s office said.
“There are limits to his contacts with the outside world which are of course strict – it pretty much has to be that way – but he is not totally excluded from all contact with other people,” the lawyer who will defend the state at trial, Marius Emberland, told AFP.
Breivik’s lawyer, Oystein Storrvik, argued meanwhile that his client has been subjected to “a longstanding isolation for almost five years” and he is suffering “clear isolation damage”.
In the first two years of his sentence, “the only visit from a non-professional was that of the plaintiff’s mother” just before she died of cancer, Storrvik said in another document submitted to the court.
“They had around five minutes together during which they hugged.”
Breivik also accuses the state of violating another aspect of the Convention, regarding the “right to respect for his private and family life ... and his correspondence”.
Authorities have said those restrictions are necessary to prevent him from building up an “extremist network”.
On July 22, 2011, Breivik killed eight people in a bomb attack outside a government building in Oslo and later murdered another 69 people, most of them teenagers, when he opened fire at a Labour Youth camp on the island of Utoya.
He was given a 21-year prison sentence in August 2012, which can be extended if he is still considered a danger to society.
The hearing later this month will for security reasons be held in the gymnasium of the Skien prison, about 100km southwest of Oslo where the 37-year-old killer is incarcerated.