Objections rise over terrorist’s letters

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Several of the survivors of an ultra right-wing extremist’s deadly attacks on the Norwegian government and Labour Party youth on the island of Utøya have been getting letters sent by the mass-murderer himself. The letters contain his conspiracy theories and extremist message, and the leader of the national survivors’ group calls them “completely unacceptable.”

“It’s terrible that a mass murderer can send letters to his victims,” Lisbeth Røyneland, whose daughter was killed on Utøya on July 22, 2011, told state broadcaster NRK. The letters have been sent to both now-grown-up youngsters who survived his attack on Utøya and the families of others who did not.

“It really shakes you up to get a reminder of his thoughts,” Torbjørn Vereide, now a Member of Parliament for Labour, told newspaper Dagbladet. Vereide saved his life by running and dodging the gunman’s shooting, and saw friends killed as he desperately sought cover.

Norway’s prison system, however, allows external communication for prisoners under the law. People plagued by such communication can seek a restraining order that would also apply to letters, but most don’t think that burden should be placed on the recipients.

“If the law isn’t good enough to protect terror victims from this form of psychic terror from the terrorist, the law must be changed,” editorialized newspaper Dagsavisen. “Being able to plague your victims from prison is not something that should be protected by freedom of speech or the right to communication.”

newsinenglish.no staff