Norwegian mass murderer needs human contact, attorney tells court

Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik tried to use dating adverts to contact ideological supporters and circumvent censorship rules, a state attorney said Wednesday.

Breivik, who killed 77 people in a bombing and shooting attack in 2011, has sued the Norwegian state and prison authorities over restrictions he faces as part of his 21-year prison sentence for the attacks.

These include constant isolation from other inmates and the constant presence of a barrier when he meets lawyers.

State attorney Fredrik Sejerstad told a Norwegian appeals court hearing that the restrictions were regularly reviewed but necessary, as Breivik remained a threat.

He told the court that Breivik had attempted to post dating ads as a means of circumventing censorship rules in line with a European Court of Human Rights ruling.

Breivik received many letters, also from women, and had put up photos they enclosed in the three cells he has access to at the Skien high security prison. Sejerstad added that Breivik had received over 130 letters from a woman in neighbouring Sweden.

Breivik's attorney Oystein Storrvik challenged the state's view that the 37-year-old was coping well in isolation. Storrvik noted that everyone Breivik interacted with had official roles: prison wardens, health staff, lawyers and a state-funded visitor.

"He has not a single person he can confide in," Storrvik said. He argued that Breivik should have contact with other inmates, who share common experiences in prison.

Comparing this case to others of preventive detention, it was "very unlikely" Breivik would ever be released, Storrvik said.

Breivik made a Nazi-style salute before taking his seat at the hearing on Tuesday, but refrained from doing so on Wednesday. He is due to testify Thursday.

Due to security concerns, the appellate court hearing is being held in the sports hall of the Skien high security prison, where Breivik is incarcerated.

A district court ruled in April that some of Breivik's living conditions are "inhumane and degrading," violating the European Convention of Human Rights. That court, however, rejected Breivik's complaints that his correspondence is censored.

Both the state and Breivik appealed the 2016 ruling.

Breivik was sentenced in August 2012 for the July 22, 2011, attacks in Oslo and at a political youth camp organized by the Labour Party on the island of Utoya near the capital.

Last update: Wed, 11/01/2017 - 19:03
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