Mass killer Breivik wins ‘degrading treatment’ case after five years in solitary

Mass killer Anders Breivik has won his human rights case against the Norwegian state. The rightwing extremist, who massacred 77 people, suffered “inhuman treatment” by being held in solitary confinement for almost five years, a court ruled. In her ruling, judge Helen Andenaes Sekulic said even killers and terrorists were entitled to humane treatment by the state. However, she said Norway had not violated Breivik’s right to a private life and a family life, although she ordered the state to pay his 331,000 kroner ($40,000) legal bill.

The prohibition of inhuman and degrading treatment represents a fundamental value in a democratic society. This applies no matter what - also in the treatment of terrorists and killers.

Judge Helen Andenaes Sekulic

In 2011,  Breivik killed eight people with a bomb in Oslo and then gunned down 69 people, many of them teenage members of the then ruling Labour Party, at a gathering on an island nearby. He was jailed for 21 years, the maximum sentence allowed in Norway. However, he took the Norwegian authorities to court, complaining that his forced separation from other prisoners and limits on visitors and correspondence was harming his health. Breivik, who is being held at  Skien Prison, has three cells – one for living, one for studying and one for physical exercise, the court heard. He also has a TV with a DVD player, a games console, a typewriter, books and newspapers.

I think it’s a strict regimen but based on the explanations given for it, I can’t see anything to suggest that the convention has been violated

Law professor Kjetil Larsen argues his treatment was lawful