A Norwegian appellate judge who once served in a Labour government has been dropped from an upcoming appeal case concerning mass killer Anders Behring Breivik's claims that he is subjected to prison conditions that violate his human rights.
The far-right extremist, who killed 77 people in July 2011, had sued the state and prison authorities over restrictions he faces while serving his 21-year prison sentence for the attacks, considered the worst acts of violence in Norway since World War II.
Breivik said the aim of his attacks was to punish the Labour Party, then in office, over its failure to stem the flow of Muslim immigrants to Norway.
The Borgarting Court of Appeal said on Thursday that judge Ellen Mo would be replaced at the pending hearing to exclude fears of conflict of interest.
The appeal court noted that Mo had served in the Finance Ministry 2000-2001 in then Labour premier Jens Stoltenberg's government.
Although Mo served briefly in government 15 years ago, "the state secretary post was important and could be seen as a symbol of the policies Breivik wanted to attack," the court said.
Breivik's attorney Oystein Storrvik, who had raised the issue, welcomed the decision, news agency NTB reported.
The state in May appealed a verdict by the Oslo District Court that ruled in favour of Breivik regarding his time spent in isolation and limited ability to complain.
Last week, the appeal court reserved four days for the hearing, which is set to open November 29. The date could be changed as Storrvik has another appeal case that week.