"I believe it is next to torture to give him no meaning in his life when he is spending the next 20 to 30 years in prison," Lippestad said. "If you put a person in prison and isolate him with no possibility of meeting other prisoners, you know for a fact that it will end up damaging his health. We must treat people decently even if they’ve done terrible things. If not we may as well start talking about the death penalty."
The comments came after Education Minister Kristin Halvorsen said she might step in to block the 34-year-old application to study political science at Oslo University, working with the Justice Ministry to change the law.
"The appeal to Norwegian inmates to get an education does not apply equally to Breivik," she told TV 2. "We are in a very special situation here, because we are dealing with a serial killer who is never going to re-enter society."
Breivik has applied to study political science at the university, starting next spring, although, since he dropped out of high school before graduation, he is unlikely to be eligible for a full degree programme.
Ole Petter Ottersen, the university's rector, has said that the application would be assessed in the same way as that from any other student.
Although Breivik never attended university, he claimed in his manifesto to have spent 16,320 hours studying, giving him "an informal education consisting of the equivalent of eight university years (or equivalent to two bachelor degrees and one master degree)."
Lippestad said he was considering taking legal action to force the prison to allow Breivik to meet other prisoners. "We may take legal action. But we first have to talk to Breivik and see what his mental state is."
He said his client still showed no regrets about killing 77 people and wounding 242 others in a gun and bomb massacre in July 2011.
"Nothing has happened. He’s in the same mental condition as during the court case and has the same views on life and the world," he said.