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Mass killer Breivik accuses Norway of violating his human rights

OSLO (Reuters) - Mass killer Anders Behring Breivik launched legal action on Wednesday accusing the Norwegian state of violating his human rights by keeping him in strict isolation in prison four years after he massacred 77 people.

Norwegian mass killer Anders Behring Breivik reacts as he returns after a break to the court room, in Oslo Courthouse August 24, 2012. REUTERS/Stoyan Nenov

The legal papers, filed with Oslo’s main court and referring to the European Convention on Human Rights, were aimed at forcing Oslo to grant Breivik more access to other people and limit censorship of his letters.

“He has a very extreme degree of isolation,” Breivik’s lawyer Oeystein Storrvik told Reuters, saying contact with other people was mainly with guards and health personnel.

“We mean that he has a right to have contact with other people,” he said, perhaps including other prisoners despite risks that they might attack him. It will be up to the court to decide whether to allow his case to be heard.

Breivik, now 36, detonated a bomb in central Oslo on July 22, 2011, killing eight people, then took a boat to an island where the ruling Labour Party were holding a summer camp and shot dead 69 more people, mostly teenagers.

He was sentenced to 21 years in jail, the maximum in Norway, although the term can be extended if he is still considered a threat to society. Breivik, a right-wing Christian fanatic, was unrepentant at his trial.

Norwegian media reported that Breivik was threatened in Skien jail near Oslo by another prisoner in April this year, who almost broke through security and yelled: “If there wasn’t a door between us I’d kill you”.

“That was a quite special case,” Storrvik said. “I really mean that it should be possible for him to have contact with other people without getting hurt.”

Among other things, the European Convention on Human Rights says “no one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”.

The Norwegian government has said in the past that it complies with its obligations under the Convention for Breivik.

Reporting by Alister Doyle; Editing by Mark Heinrich