This is one of those stories that make you simply shake your head and exclaim, “Oh, those crazy Europeans. Look what they’ve done now.”
From our “this could never happen in the U.S. in a million years” file, Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik, who killed 77 people — including 69 children — when he shot up a summer camp, sued the prison where he is serving his 21-year sentence (???) for “inhumane” treatment.
Breivik objects to the nude strip searches and solitary confinement in which he is held. A judge agreed with him, giving him a judgment of 331,000 kroner (roughly $40,600) and a promise of improved living conditions.
But how much better can it get than this?
Breivik’s private prison compound consists of three personal cells: “one for living, one for studying, and a third for physical exercise,” according to Agence France Presse.
The studying space is important for Breivik: in 2015 he enrolled in political science courses at the University of Oslo. A university representative will visit his cell to teach the classes, as Breivik is not allowed to access the Internet on his in-cell computer.
Yes, he has a personal computer in his cell. He also has a personal television and a Playstation 2, which he deemed insufficient, threatening to go on a hunger strike if it was not upgraded to a Playstation 3, AFP reported in 2014.
Being held in solitary and nude searches were not the only grievances Breivik had.
Breivik’s grievances extended to the quality of the rubber pens in his cell.
“If it were theoretically possible to develop rheumatism, I am convinced that this rubber pen would be capable of causing it,” Breivik wrote in a letter obtained by the New Yorker. “It is a nightmare of an instrument and I am frustrated by its use.”
Something must be done about these intolerable conditions.
Breivik, a maximum-security inmate, will not likely be allowed to live on a prison-turned-farming colony any time soon. But the Oslo court ruled that his solitary confinement and nude searches constituted a breach of human rights, though the ruling did not describe how his conditions would change in the future, CNN reports.
Despite the devastating effects of Breivik’s crime, even some Norwegians agree that his prison conditions should improve.
“Our best weapon in fighting extremism is humanity,” Bjorn Ihler, a survivor of Breivik’s 2011 massacre tweeted on Wednesday. “The ruling in the Breivik case shows that we acknowledge the humanity of extremists too.”
Bjorn, I sincerely hope they behead you last.
Norway is an almost pathologically clean country, with clean people, clean streets, clean buildings, and a sparkling clean reputation for freedom and tolerance.
But Breivik is a dirty, creepy, mass-murdering sociopath who deserves none of the perks he has been granted by Norwegian society. In the U.S., he would have been on a fast track to the hot shot. That would seem to be the least that could be done for the families he shattered with his shooting spree.