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Norwegian mass killer loses second attempt to sue the state for alleged breach of his human rights

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Norwegian far-right extremist Anders Behring Breivik, who killed 77 people in a bombing and shooting rampage in 2011, on Thursday lost his second attempt to sue the state for what he claimed was a breach of his human rights.

Breivik, who changed his name to Fjotolf Hansen, has been held in isolation since he began serving his prison sentence in 2012. He argued that this amounted to inhumane punishment under the European Convention on Human Rights.

Oslo District Court rejected his claim against the Norwegian Justice Ministry.

“Breivik has good physical prison conditions and relatively great freedom in everyday life,” Judge Birgitte Kolrud said in the ruling.

“There has been a clear improvement in the sentencing conditions” and there was “no evidence of permanent damage from the punishment,” she added.

The ruling was immediately appealed by Breivik, the Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten said.

The government’s lawyer, Kristoffer Nerland, said he was “very satisfied” with the judge’s finding but Breivik’s lawyer, Øystein Storrvik, disagreed with the court’s ruling.

”We had hoped for the opposite outcome, because we believe that the compensatory measures are not sufficient considering how long the isolation has lasted,” he told Norwegian broadcaster NRK.

Breivik lodged a similar claim in 2016 and 2017, which was ultimately rejected by the European Court of Justice.

Breivik was transferred two years ago to Ringerike prison, where he is held in a two-story complex with a kitchen, dining room and TV room with an Xbox, several armchairs and black and white pictures of the Eiffel Tower on the wall. He also has a fitness room with weights, treadmill and a rowing machine, while three parakeets fly around the complex.

In 2012, Breivik was convicted of mass murder and terrorism for a bombing that killed eight people in the government building in Oslo, and a shooting massacre on Utøya island where he gunned down 69 people at a holiday camp for youth activists from the center-left Labor Party.

Breivik, who claims he was acting in self-defense to protect Norway from multiculturalism, has received the most severe sentence at the time: detention for 21 years, with a provision to hold him indefinitely if he is still considered dangerous.

He has shown no remorse for his attacks and is still considered dangerous by the Norwegian authorities.

During his testimony at the hearing, he shed tears, saying he was suffering from depression and suicidal thoughts.

Janne Gudim Hermansen, a prison-appointed psychiatrist who has met with Breivik since he was transferred to Ringerike in 2022, told the hearing that she was in doubt about the tears, saying, “I think perhaps this was used to achieve something.”

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