November 24, 2012

Mass killer likens Norway prison to Abu Ghraib

Anders Behring Breivik alleges that guards do not cooperate with his meticulous schedule.

The Associated Press

OSLO, Norway - Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik accused prison officers of trying to drive him to suicide in conditions he describes as "a mini Abu Ghraib."

Anders Behring Breivik
click image to enlarge

Anders Behring Breivik, shown making a salute while appearing in an Oslo court last August, is serving a 21-year sentence for killing 77 people.

The Associated Press

Breivik wrote a 27-page letter addressed to prison officials, a copy of which was obtained by The Associated Press on Friday.

"If it wasn't for the fact that I am an exceptionally patient person, I would most likely have lost my mind in pure frustration," Breivik said in the letter dated Oct. 15 that was updated on Oct. 26 and Oct. 30. "Anyway, there are limits to what a person can take."

Breivik wrote that he is frustrated that guards do not cooperate with his carefully planned daily schedule, where he times his various activities down to the minute.

"One cannot exclude that Ila Prison's leadership has assured itself that 'loyal social democrats' dominate the ward to prevent possibly benevolent people gaining access," Breivik said. He also alleges that the prison director keeps the security regime tight out of personal vengefulness against Breivik.

The 33-year-old right-wing fanatic killed 77 people in twin attacks last year in Norway's worst peacetime massacre. He detonated a car bomb outside government offices in Oslo killing eight people and then drove to the island of Utoya where he massacred 69 in a shooting spree at the summer camp of the governing Labor Party's youth wing.

Ellen Bjercke, spokeswoman at Ila Prison where Breivik is being held, said the prison had not lifted any security restrictions on Breivik in response to his letter, although he had recently been allowed a normal pen instead of a rubber safety pen, which he had also avidly used during the 10-week trial to make notes.

Breivik said the experience of having to use the stab-free pen was as "an almost indescribable manifestation of sadism."

The self-confessed killer described numerous prison practices as "degrading" in his letter, including that he is watched when swallowing his vitamin pills, that he's not allowed a mop to clean his cell and that he is subjected to daily strip searches, sometimes by female prison guards.

Keeping up his hygiene is also a challenge, he said.

"Use of a toothbrush and electric shaver is always under supervision. One is therefore under mental pressure to finish quickly as the guards are tapping their feet outside the cell ... This limits brushing to once a day and shaving to once a week in order not to have to go through the mental ordeal more often than necessary," he wrote.

The Oslo District Court found Breivik guilty of terrorism and premeditated murder for the July 22, 2011 attacks. He was given a 21-year prison sentence that can be extended.

The self-styled anti-Muslim militant denied criminal guilt, saying he's a commander of a resistance movement aiming to overthrow European governments and replace them with "patriotic" regimes that will deport Muslims. Police said they found no evidence of Breivik belonging to any such group.

 

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