Norway has been sued by the convicted mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik over the violation of his human rights by secluding him in prison.
Breivik is a thirty six year old right-wing Christian extremist who bombed buildings in central Oslo in 2011 in attack which killed eight people. On the same day Breivik shot 69 people in a Labour Party summer camp on the island of Utoya. He was sentenced to a minimum of 21 years in prison in 2012.
Breivik’s lawyer Oystein Storrvik said on Wednesday that "we delivered the legal papers to the Oslo District Court."
“The main reason for the lawsuit is the extreme isolation my client has been subjected to,” Storrvik added.
"My client's communication with the outside world has been severely restricted. Mails have been either totally banned or strictly censored."
Breivik claims that Norway violated the European Convention on Human Rights by secluding him from the rest of prison’s inmates.
Storrik said that “in principle, [Breivik]has had no contact with anyone other than prison officers and health care providers during the four years he has served, aside from five minutes to hug his mother before she died.”
The prison administration has claimed that Breivik was put in isolation due to the risk of him being attacked by other inmates. In the beginning of June, a prisoner banged on Breivik’s door and threatened him by saying “if there wasn’t a door between us, I’d kill you.”
Breivik’s lawyer told Reuters that the incident was "a quite special case. I really mean that it should be possible for him to have contact with other people without getting hurt."
Calling Breivik’s isolation a violation of his human rights, Storrvik said that "no one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment."
Breivik’s former lawyer Geir Lippestad did not agree with taking the case to the court, saying “We have looked at the possibility of bringing a court case about prison conditions, but we disagree on what is reasonable. There is a discrepancy between Breivik's wishes and what is appropriate for us to offer him.”
The Norwegian government has claimed that Breivik’s prison conditions have not violated any European law.
In Norway, convicted criminals can only be sentenced to a maximum of 21 years imprisonment. If the convict still poses a threat to society at the end of the 21 years, the term can be extended.
After his arrest, Breivik was sent to Ila Prison where he can watch DVD movies or television, use a PC without internet access and work out with gym equipment.
After his conviction, Breivik was sent Skien prison in July 2011. He had no computer access there, and planned to write three books with an electronic typewriter.
In 2012, Breivik sent a letter to the prison’s administration complaining of restrictions and maltreatment in prison. He demanded a cell with a view and for the PlayStation 2 provided to him to be upgraded to a PlayStation 3.
Breivik also threatened to begin a hunger strike if his requirements were not met.
Breivik recently applied to the University of Oslo to study politics after receiving his high school diploma in prison.