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Norway Will Let Mass Murderer Sue the State from Makeshift Court in Prison

Norway's most notorious mass murderer will have a makeshift court brought to his prison so he can sue the state.

(FILES) A picture taken on August 24, 2012 shows self-confessed mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik arriving in court room 250 at the central court Oslo to be sentenced for his twin attacks last year that left 77 people dead, bringing to a close one of the most spectacular trials in Norway's history. The Norwegian prison where Anders Behring Breivik is being held said on August 1, 2013 it agreed in principle to allow the convicted mass murderer to study political science, if the university wants him. AFP PHOTO / ODD ANDERSEN        (Photo credit should read ODD ANDERSEN/AFP/Getty Images)
(FILES) A picture taken on August 24, 2012 shows self-confessed mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik arriving in court room 250 at the central court Oslo to be sentenced for his twin attacks last year that left 77 people dead, bringing to a close one of the most spectacular trials in Norway's history. The Norwegian prison where Anders Behring Breivik is being held said on August 1, 2013 it agreed in principle to allow the convicted mass murderer to study political science, if the university wants him. AFP PHOTO / ODD ANDERSEN (Photo credit should read ODD ANDERSEN/AFP/Getty Images)

Anders Breivik, the Norwegian mass murderer who slaughtered 77 people — many of them teenagers — in 2011, is trying to pursue a degree at the University of Oslo from his prison cell 62 miles away.  

Solitary confinement makes for such terrible study conditions that Breivik is planning to sue Norway to force the government to take him out of isolation. He won’t have to travel far to make his case: on Monday, an Oslo district court agreed to hold the March trial in Breivik’s current home, the Skien prison southwest of Oslo.

It was the Norwegian government’s idea to hold the trial in the prison, and Breivik’s lawyer agreed, as it would also allow for better study of conditions there. His lawyers have previously argued that efforts to better his conditions in prison are not an attempt to lessen the weight of his sentence, but instead to improve his chances of recovering and rejoining society. His 2011 murders were inspired by his hatred of multiculturalism and he is currently serving a minimum 21-year sentence, which could be extended if he is still considered a threat to the public.

Breivik, 36, has repeatedly threatened to starve himself if he is not moved out of confinement. He claims that he was kept in near total isolation and allowed out of his cell for only one hour a day. In a letter to media outlets in Norway and Sweden, Breivik said “studying and corresponding is not humanly possible under such circumstances.”

In 2012, he also complained again about “inhumane” conditions at the prison, where he said he was served cold coffee and was not allowed to use lotion on his dry skin.

Although his repeated complaints could be interpreted as frivolous attempts to stay in the Norwegian media spotlight, Aage Thor Falkanger, Norway’s parliamentary ombudsman, said in a November report that he thought Breivik’s conditions should be examined.

“The fact that in reality there is an extremely limited number of inmates in the very high security unit, means that this regimen represents an elevated risk of inhumane treatment,” he wrote.

Photo Credit: ODD ANDERSEN/AFP/Getty Images

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