Norway killer Anders Breivik makes a fascist salute as he enters the courtroom during his trial in 2012. Photo: Håkon Mosvold Larsen/Scanpix
“I cannot see that the court has any authority to refuse to meet him if that is what he desires,” Judge Helen Andenæs Sekulic said on Friday morning as the court met lawyer to discuss the upcoming case.
The ruling opens the way for the killer to make his first public appearance since his 2012 trial.
Sekulic was responding to a request by government lawyer Marius Kjelstrup Emberland for the far-right terrorist to be heard via a video link.
Breivik’s lawyer Øystein Storrvik told the court that it was essential for his client to appear in person for the court to properly understand the effect his prison conditions are having on him.
“I think the court should meet him in order to form an impression of how he’s doing,” he said. “I have met him. The court is supposed to evaluate what conditions he is living under on daily basis, and to do that, they need to meet him.”
Storrvik suggested a compromise solution which would see his client appear in person to give his main testimony, but attend the rest of the trial through a video link.
Emberland has previously said he expects Breivik’s human rights case against the Norwegian government to be dismissed early on in the process.
“There is, in the government’s view, no basis to take the plaintiff’s demand any further,” he told NRK.
Breivik believes that his prison conditions constitute torture as described under Article 3 of the European Convention of Human Rights, and that the prison authorities’ censoring of letters he sends and receives violates Article 8, which deal with a person’s right to “private and family life, his home and his correspondence”.
According to Storrvik, Breivik also believes that by being denied relationships with the outside world, he is effectively barred from finding a partner, violating Article 12 of the convention, the right to marry.
The Norwegian Correctional Service believes that Breivik’s conditions have been sufficiently softened since he was moved from Ila Prison outside Oslo to Skien Prison in 2013, and that the case should be dismissed.
Breivik in 2012 received a 21-year jail sentence, the maximum possible under Norwegian law, for his twin terror attacks in central Oslo and the island of Utøya, which left 77 people dead.