Norwegian mass killer Anders Behring Breivik is taking legal action against the state, claiming that his human rights have been violated due to the “extreme” isolation he has experienced during his imprisonment. His lawyer, Oeystein Storrvik, explained that Breivik has been in solitary confinement for 11 years and has had no contact with anyone apart from his guards.
Breivik is currently serving the maximum sentence allowed under Norwegian law, which is 21 years, for his role in the horrific massacre that took place in July 2011. He killed 77 people in a combination of mass shootings and a truck bombing, making it the worst peacetime atrocity in the country’s history. If he is still considered a threat after the initial sentence, judges have the option to extend his imprisonment.
After spending the first nine years of his sentence in Skien prison, Breivik was moved to Ringerike prison last year. However, according to his lawyer, he continues to be held under maximum security conditions, including solitary confinement. Storrvik expressed disappointment, stating that they had hoped for better conditions and the opportunity for Breivik to interact with other individuals.
In 2017, an appeals court overturned a lower court’s ruling that the conditions of Breivik’s confinement violated his rights. A previous court had deemed his separation from other prisoners as “inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment” due to the perceived threat he posed. However, the state argued that allowing him contact with others would risk him inspiring further acts of violence. It is worth noting that his living conditions are relatively comfortable compared to the United States, where solitary cells are significantly smaller.
Despite being in solitary confinement, Breivik is permitted certain privileges within his cell. He is allowed to play video games, use a computer without internet access, exercise with gym equipment, and read books and newspapers. He is also pursuing a degree in political science and is able to send and receive censored letters.
Last year, Breivik applied for parole, but his request was denied as the court believed he still posed a threat to society. The judge determined that he lacked empathy and compassion for his victims and had not demonstrated any changes since committing the heinous murders. Breivik had attempted to justify his actions by claiming that most of his victims were not children but individuals in “leadership positions.”
Breivik’s latest lawsuit is expected to be heard in Oslo district court next spring, according to his lawyer. The case raises important questions about the balance between the rights and well-being of prisoners and the security concerns of society.