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Friday, April 22, 2016

Norway's Monster Wins in Court Against State

Mass killer Anders Breivik's human rights breached in prison, court rules

By Tim Hume and Olav Mellingsater, CNN

Oslo, Norway (CNN)Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik has won part of his lawsuit against the state over his solitary confinement in a high-security prison, a court announced Wednesday.

The Oslo district court found the 37-year-old's treatment in prison violated Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, prohibiting "inhuman or degrading treatment," and ruled that his conditions must be eased.

The court also ordered the government to pay legal costs of 331,000 kroner ($40,600) for the right-wing extremist, who killed 77 people in a shooting rampage and bombing attack in 2011.

Norway has the right to appeal the ruling. It has not announced whether it intends to do so.

The court dismissed Breivik's claim that the government had violated Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which guarantees respect for "private life" and correspondence.

The ruling outlined areas of concern in regard to the conditions of Breivik's confinement, which, taken as a whole, constituted a breach of his rights.

These included the duration of his isolation, and inadequate consideration of the mental impact of the regime. It also said the routine nude checks Breivik had to go through were not sufficiently justified from a security perspective.

But it did not give concrete directives on how the conditions should be changed.

Breivik's complaints

Breivik's case centers on the complaint that he is banned from contact with other inmates, has limited contact with prison guards and had had virtually no contact with anyone outside a professional capacity.

It claims his only visitor in a non-professional context has been his mother, before her death in 2013, and that during her visits, they only had about five minutes together when they could hug. His only other visitors were restricted to communicating with him through a glass panel.

His complaint claimed the approval process for visits was so strict that it effectively prevented visits, as were the restrictions on his mail, which denied him the opportunity to build relationships.

It also complained that he had been subjected to more than 800 nude inspections, some of which were carried out by female prison officers, and none of which had found anything.

This, I can agree with as being way over the top. With no visitors except professionals, how is he going to acquire anything contraband? These were obviously for the sake of embarrassing Breivik and for the amusement of the guards.

Boy, I wish my barracks rooms in the military had been this nice
State response

In response, the state legal team argued in papers submitted to the court that the high security restrictions placed on Breivik were appropriate given the seriousness of his crimes, and well within the limits allowed for under the European Convention on Human Rights.

It argued that Breivik was a very dangerous man -- a mass killer who was methodical, rational, and who had shown no regret for his actions.

The documents argued that restrictions, such as the time spent in handcuffs, had been gradually eased in line with ongoing risk assessments.

The defense documents claimed Breivik received regular visits from a "visit friend" and priest, and that he undertook correspondence studies with the assistance of a social worker.

Breivik had access to a computer, without Internet access, as well as writing tools, a TV and a PlayStation gaming console, the documents said.

An exercise room with a scenic view of a wall
They claimed that censorship of his mail was not in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights, and was appropriate given the risk that he would contact far-right sympathizers and potentially encourage them to commit acts of violence or terrorism.

It only takes one Breivik to inspire another, state lawyer Adele Matheson Mestad told the court Tuesday.

Letters, phone calls to sympathizers

Mestad said that out of a total of 4,000 letters sent to or by Breivik, about 600 had been blocked by prison authorities. These were letters attempting to establish networks or encourage extremism, both in Norway and abroad, in countries including the United States, Britain, Russia and Poland, Mestad told the court.

The biggest category of correspondence blocked were mass letters to supporters -- people he didn't know personally, but with whom he was attempting to build networks due to their shared racist ideology.

Another category of blocked mail was sent to prison inmates, attempting to establish "brotherhoods" in prisons.

In my opinion, security trumps human rights, at least to a degree. The Norwegian judge doesn't seem to agree. I hope they appeal.