- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Norway violated the human rights of mass murderer Anders Breivik by keeping the convicted terrorist largely isolated from others as he serves time for a 2011 rampage that left 77 people dead, Oslo District Court Judge Helen Andenæs Sekulic ruled on Wednesday.

Judge Sekulic said in a 37-page verdict published this week that keeping Breivik in solitary confinement has amounted to a violation of the European Convention of Human Rights.

The judge said that Breivik, regardless of being being responsible for a death toll in the dozens, must still be afforded protection under the multinational treaty that prohibits inhuman and degrading treatment.

Breivik, 37, has claimed that Norway has been “trying to kill me for five years” by subjecting him to solitary confinement for upwards of 23 hours a day.

“The prison regime implies inhuman treatment of Mr. Breivik,” Judge Sekulic agreed in her ruling. “The most important factors include the duration of [his] isolation, the inadequate justification of whether isolation is strictly necessary and limited administrative opportunity to appeal.”

“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,” she added.

The judge said that Norway also violated the right-wing extremist’s basic rights by routinely keeping him up at night and subjecting him to frequent, humiliating strip searches.

“Taken together with the other stringent restrictions which he was subject, this was regarded as degrading treatment in the Convention sense,” the judge said.

Judge Sekulic rejected another claim made by Breivik, however, and said that Norway has not violated Breivik’s right to a private and family life, as protected under Article 8 of the chapter. In finding the government at fault for Article 3 violations, though, the judge ordered Norway to pay Breivik’s $40,000 USD legal bill.

Norway’s state-run media company, NRK, reported that the prison must make changes to Breivik’s prison regime as long as neither side appeals during the next month. Marius Emberland, a lawyer for the government, was not certain how Norway would respond.

Breivik killed eight people when he detonated a bomb in downtown Oslo on July 22, 2011, and another 69 during a subsequent shooting spree on a nearby island. He was later convicted of murder and terrorism, among other charges, and sentenced to 21 years in prison — the maximum allowed under Norwegian law.

Bjorn Ihler, a survivor of the rampage, tweeted that the judge’s ruling shows Norway has a “working court system, respecting human rights even under extreme conditions.”

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