Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik is in touch with fellow right-wing extremists from behind bars, a government lawyer has said as he argued the killer must be held in solitary confinement.
Attorney General Fredrik Sejersted spoke during the Norwegian government’s appeal against a court decision that ruled Breivik’s isolation in prison violates his human rights.
Breivik shot and killed 69 people on the island of Utoya in July 2011, hours after eight died when he bombed the government headquarters in Oslo.
Mr Sejersted said the self-proclaimed neo-Nazi continues to spread extremist ideology through voluminous writings and that his correspondence should still be monitored and his letters opened.
Officials maintain the 37-year-old right-wing extremist is still dangerous and must remain isolated from inmates in the high-security prison in Skien, 85 miles south-west of Oslo, where the appeals case is being heard in a makeshift gym.
Breivik is to give evidence on Thursday.
He sued the government last year, arguing that his solitary confinement, frequent strip searches and the fact that he was often handcuffed in the early part of incarceration violated his human rights.
In a surprise verdict, the Oslo District Court in April sided with Breivik, finding that his isolation was “inhuman (and) degrading” and breached the European Convention on Human Rights. It ordered the government to pay his legal costs.
But it dismissed Breivik’s claim that his right to respect for private and family life was violated by restrictions on contacts with other right-wing extremists, a decision he is appealing against.
Mr Sejersted told the court Breivik continues to try to find ways of bypassing the censorship of his correspondence, including in an advert to find a marriage partner.
“The text is structured like a personal ad, because he knows that personal ads have special protection in Strasbourg (the seat of the European Court of Human Rights),” he said.
Mr Sejersted also said Breivik’s prison conditions are better than for many other inmates. He has a three-cell complex where he can play computer games, watch TV and exercise, in compensation for his solitary confinement.
He is served coffee and newspapers, often watches films and spends a lot of time studying.
But Mr Sejersted told The Associated Press that Breivik is still “very deeply engaged in his political right-wing, extremely neo-Nazi project”.
He added: “He is continuing the same plan that he laid down 10 to 12 years ago before the massacre at Utoya, that he would do this terrorist action and then if he was not killed during the operation and ended up in prison, he would continue as a fascist, right-wing extremist ideological leader.
“That is what he’s trying to do now.”
Breivik arrived in court today in a black suit with a shaved head and beard. He refrained from making a Nazi salute as he did on the first day of the hearing when he was admonished by the judge.
Breivik was convicted of mass murder and terrorism in 2012 and given a 21-year prison sentence that can be extended for as long as he is deemed dangerous to society. Legal experts say he will likely be locked up for life.
Six days have been reserved for the hearing by the Borgarting Court of Appeals. A ruling is expected in February.