A Norwegian appellate court is weighing assertions that Anders Behring Breivik is more dangerous now than he was when he killed 77 people in 2011, as the government seeks to keep the convicted terrorist in solitary confinement.
Brevik, sporting a beard and wearing a black suit and tie, entered the courtroom Tuesday in a converted gym at Skien prison, where he is being held, and raised his right hand in a Nazi salute. Judge Oystein Hermansen asked the self-avowed neo-Nazi not to repeat the salute (which he did at his original trial in March), saying it insulted the dignity of the court.
The 37-year-old mass murderer won a surprise victory last April when the Oslo district court ruled his human rights were being violated because he was held in solitary confinement.
The decision is now being appealed, and on Tuesday Attorney General Fredrik Sejersted outlined the government’s case, asserting Breivik is even more dangerous now than he was before.
“Before July 22 , Anders Behring Breivik was Norway’s most dangerous man. It is difficult to know how dangerous he is today, and even more difficult to know how dangerous he will be tomorrow, next year or in 10 years,” Sejersted said, adding: “But he has strengthened his right-wing beliefs. He is still a far-right extremist.”
The government contends Breivik is in fact treated better than other inmates in Norway because he is isolated. Sejersted added that Breivik needs to be kept away from other prisoners in solitary confinement for security reasons.
In April the court threw out Breivik’s claim that his right to a private life was being violated — because of strict controls on his correspondence. The appeals court will hear arguments on this point, too.
Solitary confinement, for Breivik, isn’t what most people think of when they hear the term. In the U.S., according to Solitary Watch, solitary confinement cells generally measure a maximum of 8×10 feet, whereas Breivik is in a three-room cell measuring over 320 square feet. The cell includes two TVs, a videogame console, and gym equipment. He also has access to a computer (without an internet connection), books, and newspapers. Sejersted called him Norway’s “most expensive prisoner.”
Breivik was sentenced to 21 years in prison for two July 2011 attacks: The first involved a car bomb outside a government building in Oslo that killed eight people, and the second saw Breivik, disguised as a policeman, kill 69 others by opening fire at a Labour Party youth camp on the Utøya island.
Breivik, who describes himself as a neo-Nazi and prays to the Viking god Odin, has never shown any remorse for his actions, saying during his original trial that the attack was “necessary” and that he “would do it again.”