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Mass killer Breivik still dangerous and should stay isolated in Norway jail, court hears

In World
January 12, 2024

OSLO – Anders Behring Breivik, the far-right fanatic who killed 77 people in twin attacks in Norway in 2011, remains “very dangerous” and should be kept in isolation in prison, a court heard on Friday.

The 44-year-old is suing the Norwegian state in a bid to end his years of isolation in prison and lift restrictions on his correspondence with the outside world. The five-day hearing ends on Friday.

Breivik is allowed to say a few words at the end of the hearing and may exercise this right.

He has been held in isolation ever since he killed eight people with a car bomb in Oslo and gunned down 69 others, most of them teenagers, on Utoeya island.

Andreas Hjetland, representing the Justice Ministry, said in his closing argument on Friday that “there is no ground for the allegation that Breivik’s human rights are being violated”.

“Breivik remains very dangerous,” he told the court. “There is still a great danger he can commit violence or that he can inspire others (to commit violence).”

As in previous days, Breivik shook his head in disagreement at some of the points Hjetland made.

Breivik said in a tearful testimony on Tuesday that isolation was a “nightmare” and that he considered suicide every day. His lawyer said on Monday his client suffered from “deep depression”.

On Thursday, Breivik’s psychiatrist said she did not think Breivik was severely depressed.

“His conditions weigh on him and he feels lonely. It is burdensome but I don’t think he is severely depressed,” Janne Gudim Hermansen told the court, according to daily Aftenposten.

Judge Birgitte Kolrud asked the psychiatrist what she thought of Breivik’s tearful testimony. She said she had never seen Breivik cry.

“I think it is his way to show his despair. So I am a little uncertain about how credible it is,” she said, according to Aftenposten.

Breivik’s lawyers argue Norway is breaching the European Convention on Human Rights, including sections saying no one should be subject to “torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”.

His isolation for more than a decade has left him in a “locked world” with only guards and other prison professionals whose duty is to maintain their distance, his lawyer Oeystein Storrvik told the court on Monday.

The judge’s ruling will be issued in coming weeks. REUTERS

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