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Mass killer who says his rights are violated should remain in solitary confinement, Norway says

Norway's government says Anders Behring Breivik, a right-wing extremist who killed 77 people in 2011, remains dangerous and should stay in solitary confinement

Via AP news wire
Friday 12 January 2024 12:12 GMT

Norway's government insisted on Friday that Anders Behring Breivik, a right-wing extremist who killed 77 people in a bomb and gun rampage in 2011, remains dangerous and should stay in solitary confinement, rejecting his claim in a suit that his human rights are being violated.

"There is a great danger of violence and that he will inspire others. That is why he has to serve his time under strict security measures,” Andreas Hjetland, a government lawyer, said on the last day of a five-day hearing.

“There is simply nothing indicating that Breivik’s human rights are being violated,” the Norwegian news agency NTB quoted Hjetland as saying.

Breivik, who has changed his name to Fjotolf Hansen, claims in his suit — his second against the Norwegian government — that the isolation he has been placed under since he began his prison sentence in 2012 amounts to inhumane punishment under the European Convention on Human Rights. He failed in a similar attempt in 2016-2017, when his appeal was ultimately rejected by the European Court of Justice.

On July 22, 2011, Breivik killed eight people in a bomb attack in Oslo before heading to a youth camp for a center-left political group on Utøya island, where, dressed as a police officer, he gunned down 69 people, mostly teenagers.

Breivik has shown no remorse for his attacks, which he portrayed as a crusade against multiculturalism in Norway.

This week's hearing was held in the gymnasium at the Ringerike prison where he is being held.

His lawyer, Øystein Storrvik, said Thursday that his client has been affected by the lack of contact with the surrounding world.

During his testimony on Tuesday, Breivik shed tears and said he was suffering from depression and suicidal feelings.

The prison-appointed psychiatrist, who has met with Breivik since he was transferred to Ringerike in 2022, expressed her doubts.

“I’ve never seen him like that before — never seen him cry or show much emotion. It was a reaction I did not expect,” Janne Gudim Hermansen told the court Thursday, according to NTB. “It may have been his way of showing his despair, but I am not sure how credible this was. I think perhaps this was used to achieve something.”

Breivik was sentenced to the maximum 21 years in prison with a provision — rarely used in the Norwegian justice system — that he can be held indefinitely if he is still considered a danger to society.

He sought parole in 2022 but was judged to have shown no sign of rehabilitation.

Norway favors rehabilitation over retribution, and Breivik is being held at Ringerike in a two-story complex with a kitchen, dining room and TV room with a game console, several armchairs and pictures of the Eiffel Tower on the wall. He also has a fitness room with weights, a treadmill and a rowing machine, while three parakeets fly around the complex.

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