“Anders Breivik took Norwegian authorities to court in March,” in.reuters.com reports, “accusing them of exposing him to inhuman, degrading treatment or punishment in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights. He protested his isolation from other inmates and from outsiders who are not professionals.” You may remember that Breivik as the madman who dressed as a police officer as he shot and murdered 69 people at a Workers’ Youth League (AUF) summer camp on the island of Utøya. After killing eight with a bomb in Oslo. Apparently, prison life isn’t good enough for Breivik. The court ruled that . . .
“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,” judge Helen Andenaes Sekulic said in her ruling.
The verdict said the Norwegian state had broken Article 3 of the convention, pointing to the fact that Breivik is spending 22 to 23 hours a day alone in his cell.
“It’s a completely locked world with very little human contact,” it said, adding that there had been no attempt to ease the security “even though Breivik has behaved in an exemplary manner during his time in prison”.
His isolation is “an inhuman treatment” of him in the meaning of the European convention, it said, noting that all his visits, except for his mother who died in 2013, are from professionals, and only and through a glass wall.
The wall must be seen as a “completely exaggerated security measure,” said the verdict.
While I’m against the death penalty — I don’t want the state getting into the business of killing people — it’s hard to sympathize with Breivik’s treatment in jail. Which must be doubly true for friends and families of his victims — and anyone else connected to the innocent lives taken and ruined by someone who’s shown no remorse for his crimes.