Court: Isolation does not violate Norwegian killer's rights

Last year, the Norwegian government appealed a lower court ruling that Breivik's isolation in prison violated his human rights.

Published: 01st March 2017 09:25 PM  |   Last Updated: 01st March 2017 09:25 PM   |  A+A-

Anders Behring Breivik. AP

By Associated Press

COPENHAGEN: Norway did not violate the human rights of mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik by isolating him in jail, an appeals court ruled Wednesday, overturning a lower court ruling from last year.

The Borgarting Court of Appeal says Breivik, serving a 21-year sentence for killing 77 people in a 2011 bomb-and-shooting rampage, "has not been subjected to torture or inhuman or degrading treatment," adding the conditions for his incarceration were "not in violation" of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Incarceration in a high security prison "entails an element of suffering and humiliation," the court said. "However such special safety measures may be required. This particularly applies to some dangerous prisoners to prevent, for instance, escape, violence or prison disturbances."

"Isolation from other inmates coupled with tight control are examples of such security measures," the court said.

Defense lawyer Oystein Storrvikk said after Wednesday's ruling that Breivik would now appeal to Norway's top court — the Supreme Court — and possibly to the European Court of Human Rights.

During the trial, the state sought to show that Breivik does have meaningful human contact on a daily basis, including a weekly meeting with a priest with whom he can have confidential conversations.

Breivik, 37, told during the trial in a makeshift courtroom in the gym at the prison in Skien, 135 kilometers (85 miles) southwest of the capital, Oslo, that his solitary confinement in prison has deeply damaged him and made him even more radical in his neo-Nazi beliefs.

The court said in its ruling that Breivik appears "as strongly influenced as ever by his right-wing political universe," adding he still could inspire people in right-wing circles to commit acts of violence.

"His desire to build network with like-minded must be considered in this light," the court wrote.

It added there still was "a risk for violence and threats" against Breivik.

Last year, the Norwegian government appealed a lower court ruling that Breivik's isolation in prison violated his human rights. That ruling said it was "inhuman (and) degrading" and breached the European Convention on Human Rights.

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