Anders Breivik: Norwegian government appeals against rights ruling

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Far-right terrorist who killed 77 people in 2011 carnage won case saying his prison therapy was inhumane

A Norwegian tribunal is hearing a government appeal against a ruling that the isolation of the mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik is inhumane and infringes his human rights.

The 37 -year-old rightwing terrorist, who killed 77 people in a bomb and shooting rampage in 2011, sued the government last year, saying his solitary confinement, frequent strip searches and the fact he was often handcuffed during the early part of his incarceration contravened his human rights.

The Oslo district court ruled in April that Breiviks treatment in the maximum security Skien prison did violate the European convention on human rights.

It said: The prohibited under inhuman and degrading treatment represents a fundamental value in a democratic society. This applies no matter what also in the treatment of terrorists and murderers.

It ordered the government to pay Breiviks legal costs of 331,000 kroner( 35,000 ). However, it rejected its statement of claim that his right to respect for a private life was transgressed by restrictions on contacts with other rightwing extremists.

Speaking for the nation, Fredrik Sejersted said the governments view was that Breiviks prison conditions did not violate his human rights in any actual or legal sense.

Describing Breivik as Norways most expensive captive, Sejersted said that in many ways they are better than[ those] of other prisoners to compensate for the fact that he cannot attain contact with other inmates.

That is far from transgressing human rights, he said.

Breivik made a Nazi salute as he walked into a courtroom on Tuesday, as he did at the start of his human rights lawsuit last year. Judge Oystein Hermansen asked him not to recur the gesture, saying it insulted the dignity of the court.

It also disturbs what we are dealing with here, so I ask you not to repeat it, Hermansen said.

Breivik was convicted of mass murder and terrorism in 2012 and given a 21 -year prison sentence that can be extended for as long as he is deemed dangerous to society. Legal experts say he is likely to be in prison for life.

Breivik is being held in isolation in a three-cell complex where he can play video games, watch TV and exercise. He has complained about the quality of penitentiary institutions food, having to eat with plastic utensils and not being able to communicate with sympathisers.

The government has rejected his objections, saying he is treated humanely despite the severity of his crimes and that he must be separated from other inmates for safety reasons.

Breivik had carefully planned the two attacks on 22 July 2011. He set off a car bomb outside the governmental forces headquarters in Oslo, killing eight people and wounding dozens. Dressed in a police uniform, Breivik then drove to the island of Utya, about 25 miles( 40 km) away, where he opened fire on the annual summer camp of the leftwing Labor parties youth wing. Sixty-nine people were killed, most of them teenagers, before he surrendered to police.

At the time of the attacks, Breivik claimed to be the commander of a secret Christian military order plotting an anti-Muslim revolution in Europe. He now describes himself as a traditional neo-Nazi who prays to the Viking god Odin.

The massacre shocked the Scandinavian country and many feel Breivik has had too much attention and visibility.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

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