Cyprus Mail

Norway slightly eases mass killer Breivik’s jail isolation

Anders Breivik sues Norway over violating his human rights

Norway has slightly relaxed the jail isolation of mass killer Anders Behring Breivik since an April court ruling that it violated his human rights by keeping him in a “locked world”, legal documents showed on Wednesday.

The Norwegian state, preparing an appeal starting on January 10 against the ruling, said Breivik‘s still-draconian jail conditions were fully justified after the right-wing militant killed 77 people in shootings and a bombing in July 2011.

The April ruling that Norway violated Breivik‘s human rights by keeping him isolated stunned survivors and relatives of the dead. In court, he said he was feeling bad in jail despite a three-room cell, complained about cold coffee and grumbled that jail food was “worse than waterboarding”.

Documents released on Wednesday showed that some conditions for Breivik have been relaxed, including that he no longer speaks to his lawyer through a glass wall. NRK public television said floor-to-ceiling bars had been installed.

“This has eased contact somewhat but he is still cut off from receiving visits from lawyers in a normal way in a visitors’ room,” Breivik‘s lawyer Oeystein Storrvik wrote in the documents.

“The overall pressure of isolation has however been maintained,” he wrote.

Breivik has been isolated for 5-1/2 years with no contact with other prisoners and restrictions on his letters, he wrote. Breivik‘s mother was the only family member to have any contact, giving her son a hug in 2013 shortly before she died of cancer.

Public prosecutor Fredrik Sejersted said the state was continuously revising restrictions onBreivik, and said that any changes were not prompted by the court finding.

Among recent measures to allow Breivik more contact were more contact with a “visitor friend” from a local church, more physical training and more time outdoors. Still, Sejersted said thatBreivik had rejected many offers of social activity.

Sejersted accused the lower court of “setting the bar too low” in April by ruling that the Norwegian state had violated a ban on “inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment” under the European Convention of Human Rights.

It said the European Court of Human Rights often ruled that any violations “must go beyond that inevitable element or suffering or humiliation connected with a given form of legitimate treatment or punishment.”

Breivik is serving a 21-year sentence, Norway’s longest, that can be extended if he is still considered a threat.

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