Norway: Right-wing extremist Anders Behring Breivik loses his case against the state for inhumane treatment

Norwegian right-wing extremist Anders Behring Breivik, who killed 77 people in 2011, lost the new lawsuit he filed against the Norwegian state for inhumane treatment, according to the judgment rendered Thursday, February 15, by the Oslo court

Norway: Right-wing extremist Anders Behring Breivik loses his case against the state for inhumane treatment

Norwegian right-wing extremist Anders Behring Breivik, who killed 77 people in 2011, lost the new lawsuit he filed against the Norwegian state for inhumane treatment, according to the judgment rendered Thursday, February 15, by the Oslo court . Detained alone for around twelve years in a very high security unit, Breivik, 45, attacked Norway, claiming in particular that his prison isolation violated his human rights.

During the five-day trial held in early January in the gymnasium of Ringerike prison in the southeast of the country, the extremist, now 45, appeared at times in tears as depressed, dependent on Prozac, and accused the authorities of wanting to “push him to suicide”.

For its part, the state justified Breivik’s strict but comfortable prison regime as dangerous, saying he still presented “an absolutely extreme risk of totally unbridled violence.”

“[Anders Behring] Breivik benefits from good material conditions of detention and relatively great freedom on a daily basis,” ruled Oslo court judge Birgitte Kolrud in her judgment. “It seems unrealistic to envisage major changes [de son prison regime], because it is unlikely that we will see significant changes in the picture of risks in the short term,” she estimated.

Before the announcement of the judgment, Breivik's lawyer had indicated to Agence France-Presse that he would appeal in the event of a setback at first instance.

Three pets

On July 22, 2011, Breivik first detonated a bomb near the government headquarters in Oslo, killing eight people, then killed 69 other people, most of them teenagers, when he opened fire in a summer camp of the labor youth on the island of Utoya. He was sentenced in 2012 to the maximum sentence then in force in Norway, namely twenty-one years in prison with the possibility of extension as long as he remains considered dangerous.

In prison, he has three individual rooms - a living cell, a study cell and a gym - on the upper floor and, on the lower floor which he shares alternately with another inmate, a kitchen, a TV lounge, a dining room and a room for visits.

He has access to a flat screen, an Xbox games console and three parakeets, in accordance with his request to have a pet. “[Anders Behring] Breivik is treated particularly well,” prison director Eirik Bergstedt testified.

Suicide attempts

But his lawyer argued that the authorities had not put in place sufficient measures to compensate for his isolation, his human interactions essentially being limited to contacts with professionals (guards, lawyers, pastor).

“He will never come out, he is well aware of that,” Oystein Storrvik said during the proceedings. “Can we impose a [de facto] life sentence and prevent any human contact during the execution of this sentence? »

According to him, his client’s treatment contravenes Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which prohibits “inhuman or degrading punishment or treatment.”

Also invoking Article 8 of the Convention which guarantees a right to correspondence, Breivik also demanded relief from the filtering of his mail. “[Anders Behring] Breivik represents the same danger today as on July 21, 2011,” countered Justice Ministry representative Andreas Hjetland, emphasizing that he could still carry out violence or inspire others to do so. TO DO.

During the proceedings, it emerged that Breivik had committed three suicide attempts as well as a campaign of disobedience in 2018: he then drew inscriptions, including a swastika, with his excrement, shouted "Sieg Heil" and had been on hunger strike.

Two experts called to the stand nevertheless judged that the detainee was neither seriously depressed nor suicidal. “This does not give the impression that he had a real desire to die,” said the psychologist responsible for assessing his dangerousness, Inni Rein, referring to reports in which he admitted that his suicide attempts were intended as a means of to see its demands met.

In 2016, Breivik had already taken the State to court on the same grounds and had partially won his case at first instance, before being completely dismissed on appeal. The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) then ruled his complaint “inadmissible”.