Norwegian Mass Killer Begins A Second Attempt To Sue The State For An Alleged Breach Of Human Rights

(AP) — Norwegian far-right extremist Anders Behring Breivik, who killed 77 people in a bombing and shooting rampage in 2011, launched his second attempt at suing the state on Monday, accusing the Justice Ministry of breaching his human rights.

Breivik, who has changed his name to Fjotolf Hansen, claims that the isolation he’s been placed under since he started serving his prison sentence in 2012 amounts to inhumane punishment under the European Convention on Human Rights. He failed in a similar attempt in 2016 and 2017, when his appeal was ultimately rejected by the European Court of Justice.

The Norwegian state denies Breivik’s claims, arguing that the prison conditions are “significantly better” now than they were during the previous case.

Breivik was transferred two years ago to Ringerike prison where he is held in a two-story complex with a kitchen, dining room and TV room with an Xbox, several armchairs and black and white pictures of the Eiffel Tower on the wall. He also has a fitness room with weights, treadmill and a rowing machine, while three parakeets fly around the complex.

“Breivik, on the other hand, is the same. He is still proud of what he has done. He continues his ideological project,” government attorney Andreas Hjetland told the court. “An extraordinarily dangerous inmate brings with him extraordinary security measures.”

Breivik’s lawyer, Øystein Storrvik, told The Associated Press that Breivik’s mental health has suffered from additional years in solitary confinement since the previous case, leaving him “suicidal” and dependent on antidepressants. Storrvik said that he would argue for an easing of restrictions and more contact with other inmates, and that he believed 12½ years in isolation was “unique” in recent European judicial history.

Storrvik told the court on Monday that Breivik had hoped he could have had some form of “human relations” when he was moved from Skien prison to the spacious complex in Ringerike prison near Oslo in 2022, but that the cells had been “turned into an isolation ward.”

In 2012, Breivik was convicted of mass murder and terrorism for a bombing that killed eight people in the government building in Oslo, and a shooting massacre on Utøya island where he gunned down 69 people at a holiday camp for youth activists from the center-left Labor Party.

Breivik, who described himself during the trial as an anti-Muslim crusader, pleaded not guilty, claiming he was acting in self-defense to protect Norway from multiculturalism.

He received Norway’s most severe sentence at the time: detention for 21 years, with a provision to hold him indefinitely if he is still considered dangerous.

“It is no exaggeration to say that if the court does not put its foot down, then he will be sentenced to life in prison and will never be able to relate to other people,” Storrvik told the court Monday, according to Norwegian news agency NTB.

Breivik entered the makeshift courtroom in the gymnasium of Ringerike prison wearing a dark suit and tie, flanked by Storrvik. He didn’t flash a Nazi salute as he has done in past court appearances.

The government rejects Breivik’s claim that his prison conditions violate human rights.

Some of the restrictions that Breivik has been subject to have been relaxed, said Hjetland, who represents the Justice Ministry in the case, but the conditions are necessary for security.

Breivik has so far shown himself to be unreceptive to rehabilitative work, according to a written statement from Hjetland to the court before the trial, which is scheduled to end on Friday.