Norway A suicidal Breivik sues the state to protest his

Norway: A “suicidal” Breivik sues the state to protest his isolation

Anders Behring Breivik, who killed 77 people in 2011, is “suicidal” and taking antidepressants because of his strict prison regime, his lawyer said on Monday, on the first day of a new lawsuit by the neo-Nazi against the Norwegian state.

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“The greatest harm associated with Breivik's isolation is his desire to no longer live. You can call it a depression,” said lawyer Øystein Storrvik in the gymnasium of Ringerike Prison, where the trial was moved for security reasons.

“Sometimes he's more or less suicidal,” he added, pointing in particular to an episode in which his client – now addicted, he said, to Prozac – screamed “Kill me!” Please kill Me.”

The 44-year-old extremist, who is kept separate from other prisoners, believes his isolation for around 11 and a half years violates Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which prohibits “inhuman or degrading punishment or treatment.”

With a shaved head, a graying beard and a black suit, unlike his previous public appearances, he refrained from any provocation when he arrived in the courtroom.

On July 22, 2011, he first detonated a bomb near the government headquarters in Oslo, killing eight people. He then killed 69 more people, most of them teenagers, by opening fire on a Labor youth summer camp on the island of Utøya.

He was sentenced in 2012 to the then maximum sentence of 21 years in prison with the possibility of an extension.

“He will never come out, he is aware of that,” Mr. Storrvik stressed. “Can we impose a (de facto) life sentence and prevent all human contact during the execution of that sentence?”

According to him, the Norwegian authorities have not taken sufficient measures to compensate for the relative isolation of Breivik, whose human interactions are essentially limited to contacts with professionals (guards, lawyers, priests, etc.), “without the possibility of real education .” Friendships.

Citing another article of the Human Rights Convention that guarantees the right to correspondence, the right-wing extremist is also calling for a reduction in the filtering of his letters with the outside world.

Pet parakeets

In Ringerike Prison, on the shore of the lake where Utøya bathes, Breivik has several rooms on two floors that serve as a kitchen, a TV lounge with a games console, photos of the Eiffel Tower or even an equipped gym, as shown by photos from the Norwegian agency NTB .

According to NTB, prison authorities also placed three parakeets there to fulfill his wish for a pet.

The Norwegian prison system has traditionally placed great emphasis on the rehabilitation of criminals.

The state justifies Breivik's prison regime with its dangerousness and the risks it poses to society, other prisoners and guards, but also those who burden him.

Breivik benefits from “a very wide range of activities” (cooking, games, walks, basketball, etc.) and “there is no evidence that Breivik suffers from any physical or mental problems as a result of his prison conditions,” argues prosecutor Andreas Hjetland in court documents.

“Breivik has so far shown little openness to rehabilitation work,” he also specifies. “It is therefore difficult to imagine what significant improvements in prison conditions are possible and justifiable in the short term.”

“A burden” for families

Breivik's previous public appearances usually resulted in provocative gestures or statements (Hitler salutes, militant signs, ideological tirades, etc.), which were painfully experienced by the victims' families and survivors.

“Many are fed up and are trying to stay away from all this,” Lisbeth Kristine Røyneland, chairwoman of the support group for the families of the victims who lost her 18-year-old daughter Synne on Utøya, told AFP on Monday. .

“Of course people find this a burden because it revives their memories,” explained another leader of the group, Merete Stamneshagen, whose daughter Silje, the same age, also died on the island.

The judge banned Breivik's statement from being broadcast on Tuesday afternoon.

In 2016, Breivik had already taken the state to court on the same grounds, partially winning his case at first instance before having it completely dismissed on appeal. And in 2018, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) ruled that his complaint was “inadmissible.”