Mass killer Anders Behring Breivik suing the Norwegian state for violating his human rights by keeping him in isolation is “unreal” but that it is important the court decides, say his victims and their relatives.
OSLO, NORWAY (MARCH 15, 2016) (TV2) – Mass killer Anders Behring Breivik claimed in court on Tuesday (March 15) that Norway was violating his human rights by keeping him in isolation for murdering 77 people in 2011.
Breivik raised his right arm in a flat-handed Nazi-style salute on arrival at the court, slightly different from the outstretched arm and clenched fist he used in 2012.
Appearing in public for the first time since he was sentenced in 2012, Breivik is claiming inhuman treatment by Norway, where he is serving 21 years for killing eight people with a bomb in Oslo and gunning down 69 others on nearby Utoya island, many of them teenagers.
Just as she did during the trial almost four years ago, Lisbeth Royneland wanted to be present at Oslo District Court to see the trial, held in a gymnasium at Skien jail about 100 km (60 miles) south of Oslo, on a television screen.
She is the Head of the National Support Group for the Victims of the July 22 attacks in which she lost her 18-year old-daughter Synne.
Royneland said she found it difficult to take the lawsuit seriously.
“In a way the word pathetic comes to mind, because he has caused so much pain, so much grief and loss for several hundred people around the country. So in a way it feels unreal, but a the same time we know that the justice system is like it is, and we have to act in accordance with it,” she said.
Former head of the support group, Trond Henry Blattmann, who lost his 17-year-old son Torjus in the attacks, said he would not follow the trial.
“In our family we don’t spend time on the mass murderer at all. In many ways he’s not in our thoughts at all. When this happens, we register it and act in accordance with the fact that this is for the District Court to decide, and not for us,” he said.
Twenty-three-year-old Sofie Lyshagen, who survived the Utoya massacre, believes it is important that Breivik can have his say in court.
On the day of the massacre, she swam ashore from Utoya, and thereby saved her life. She was one of the first to tell about the sheer scale of the tragedy.
“After a while he came to where I was sitting, and then he walked over calmly and shot ten people who sat right next to me. And then I dived into the water,” she told Tv2 on the night after the massacre.
Now, when Breivik dominates the media once again, she finds comfort in being outside, where she can’t see the headlines, but said it was important to take the case seriously.
“He’s going to try and find every possibility of being in the media and show off. That’s why it’s important that we don’t deny him to try a case, which he is entitled to do. I think it’s important that we show that we have a democratic, secure and just society. If we hadn’t taken his case seriously, we wouldn’t have been the society we want to be,” she said.
Breivik’s lawyer, Oeystein Storrvik, accused Norway of violating a ban on “inhuman and degrading treatment” under the European Convention on Human Rights by keeping the 37-year-old isolated from other inmates in a special three-room cell.
Norway rejects the charges of inhuman treatment.
“Breivik is a very dangerous man,” said Marius Emberland, the lawyer representing the state, defending Breivik’s conditions.
Breivik will have a chance to speak on Wednesday (March 16). The single judge – there is no jury – will issue a ruling in coming weeks. Storrvik says he may eventually appeal to the European Court of Human Rights if Breivik loses.