Mass Killer Breivik Sues Norway Over Prison Isolation

    Mass Killer Breivik Sues Norway Over Prison Isolation
    Photo: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images News via Getty Images (July 25, 2011)

    The Facts

    • Anders Breivik, the neo-Nazi mass murderer who killed 77 people in two separate attacks in Oslo and on the island of Utøya in 2011, has sued the Norwegian state on the grounds that his years-long isolation violates his human rights.

    • Expected to take the stand on Tuesday, Breivik attended court on Monday but remained silent. His legal team launched a bid to end his prison isolation and lift restrictions on his correspondence with the outside world, claiming that Breivik has been suffering from "deep depression" and no longer wants to live.

    The Spin

    Narrative A

    Though the claim that his near-complete isolation has taken a psychological toll on him seems to be plausible, it must be noted that Breivik has a long record of absurd complaints about his life in prison — including desiring better video games. He has been living in a luxurious prison cell despite his heinous crimes — and yet he acts as if the nation owes him everything.

    Narrative B

    Constitutional democracies must always uphold the rule of law and remain committed to protecting fundamental human rights, even if that benefits a horrific mass murder like Breivik or any other terrorist or convicted criminal. In fact, it's exactly the way that European nations treat them that indicates what kind of political community Europe wants to be.

    Nerd narrative

    There's an 8% chance that the US and the EU (or one of its member states) will cut diplomatic ties before 2051, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

    Articles on this story

    Sign up to our daily newsletter