State denies violating Breivik’s rights

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Norwegian authorities deny that the prison conditions under which the country’s most famous mass murderer serves deprive him of his human rights. Attorneys defending the state against a lawsuit filed by convicted killer Anders Behring Breivik claim he’s allowed, among other things, to get fresh air and exercise, wash his clothes and prepare his own food.

The court system released the state’s legal response on Wednesday to the lawsuit filed by Breivik, who was convicted in 2012 of killing 77 people during a bombing and shooting spree on July 22, 2011. Breivik was sentenced to 21 years in prison, with special terms that can keep him in prison for life.

‘Not socially isolated’
Even though Norwegian prisons have relatively high standards and have even been to likened to “hotels” by some foreign convicts, Breivik has complained that his human rights are being violated every day. Despite his access to three rooms at the Skien and Ila prisons where he’s been held  and permission to study, play computer games and use an outdoor exercise yard, he’s unhappy about the high security and isolation.

In documents released on Wednesday, government attorney Marius Emberland denied Breivik is socially isolated. Emberland pointed out that the plaintiff can move freely among his three cells, one of which is viewed as a residential unit, one for studying and one for exercising.

It’s earlier been reported that Breivik also has been able to have conversations with nurses, psychiatrists and an occasional visitor. He’s also allowed access to a common area of the prison for an hour a week where he can cook or play games with prison staff. He can also use a computer without Internet access and a Playstation with approved games.

Four-day trial
Emberland pointed out that Breivik has not claimed he’s been subjected to torture, and the threshold for any allegedly inhumane or undignified treatment is high. Breivik’s own defense attorney confirmed that he recently has been granted access to a larger outdoor area” at the area, photos of which show views to nearby hills.

The documents also offer more insight into how his trial, due to begin March 15, will proceed. It will run over four days at the Skien prison, with some parts of it closed to the press. Breivik will be allowed around three hours to testify, and several professionals have been called in to testify about his health and prison conditions.

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund