Norwegian mass killer Breivik in ‘deep depression’, lawyer tells court

By Gwladys Fouche

TYRISTRAND, Norway (Reuters) -Lawyers for Norwegian mass killer Anders Behring Breivik told a court on Monday he was suffering from “deep depression” and no longer wanted to live as they launched a legal bid to lift his years of isolation in prison.

The far-right fanatic who killed 77 people in a bombing and shooting rampage in 2011 is suing the state, arguing that his prison conditions violate his human rights.

Among those watching the proceedings in a court room set up in a gym in Norway’s the high-security Ringerike jail was Freddy Lie, one of whose daughters was shot dead by Brevik. Another daughter was wounded. “He must never come out again,” Lie told Reuters.

Breivik walked into the hearing flanked by three security guards. Wearing a black suit, white shirt and brown tie, Breivik said nothing and sat impassively as his legal team laid out his case.

“He has been isolated for about 12 years … He lives in a completely locked world,” his lawyer, Oeystein Storrvik, told the judge

“He does not wish to be alive anymore,” Storrvik added. In one incident in 2018, Breivik wrote the Norwegian words for “KILL ME” on the wall of his cell using his faeces, the lawyer said.

Breivik murdered eight people with a car bomb in Oslo then gunned down 69 others, most of them teenagers, at a Labour Party youth camp on July 22, 2011. It remains Norway’s worst peacetime atrocity.

The 44-year-old is due to speak himself on Tuesday. He is also asking the court to lift restrictions on his correspondence with the outside world.

Lawyers representing the justice ministry say Breivik must be kept apart the rest of the prison population because of the continuing security threat he poses.

“An extraordinarily dangerous inmate requires extraordinary measures,” lawyer Andreas Hjetland told the court on Monday.

“He is still proud of what he has done. He still holds the same ideological views,” Hjetland said.

Breivik shook his head in disagreement.


Breivik spends his time in a dedicated section of Ringerike prison, with a training room, a kitchen, a TV room and a bathroom, pictures from a visit last month by news agency NTB showed.

Government lawyers said in a court filing that Breivik’s isolation was “relative” as he has contact with guards, a priest, health professionals and, until recently, an outside volunteer that Breivik no longer wishes to see.

He also sees two inmates for an hour every other week, the lawyers said.

At the end of the first break in Monday’s proceedings, Breivik turned to a guard, facing the media, and said he had been told by the head of the prison not to talk to reporters.

“It is not because I don’t want to, it is because I can’t,” he said.

The judge will give a verdict in coming weeks. There is no jury.

Breivik is serving a 21-year sentence – the longest a Norwegian court can impose – which can be extended for as long as he is deemed a threat to society.

His prison is on the shore of Tyrifjorden lake, where the island of Utoeya, the site of Breivik’s shooting spree, lies.

Breivik also sued the state in 2016, arguing it was breaching the European Convention on Human Rights, including sections saying no one should be subject to “torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”.

He initially won the case but that was overturned on appeal a year later before any restrictions were lifted.

(Reporting by Gwladys Fouche in Tyristrand, Norway; Editing by Sharon Singleton and Andrew Heavens)