Judgment in the appeal case between The Norwegian Ministry of Justice and Anders Behring Breivik.

Download the judgement here.

Press release – English version (in-house translation).

The Borgarting Court of Appeal has March 1, 2017 reached a verdict in the appeal case between The Norwegian Ministry of Justice and Anders Behring Breivik.

The Borgarting Court of Appeal has determined that Anders Behring Breivik is not, and has not been subjected to torture or inhuman or degrading treatment.

The exclusion from companionship involves considerable psychological stress that can cause harm to the inmate. Convention practice from the European Court of Human rights (ECHR) and Norwegian legislation is built on the assumption that the exclusion from prison community should be limited in time.

Breivik still appears strongly affected by his right-wing extremist, political universe. He has expressed that he is no longer a supporter of violence. This point of view is not linked to a sense of regret, nor explained by ethical deliberation, and has not been granted weight. There are no clear indications that Breivik has been subjected to isolation damage during his prison sentence.

The Court is of the opinion that there is a high risk that Breivik will resort to violence in the future. This risk of violence concerns methodical and well-planned acts of violence if he – and his political project – receive little attention. It cannot be expected that one can predict and register changes in his behavior prior to a possible act of violence. It is furthermore necessary to protect him against violence from other inmates. The combination of these circumstances separates this case from other comparable court decisions. Strong societal considerations call for comprehensive security measures in Breivik's prison sentence.

The Norwegian Correctional Service has implemented several measures to compensate for the lack of companionship with other inmates. Overall, the conversations with employees, the volunteer prison visitor and chaplain provide him with social input to a relatively large degree. Three cells are at his disposal and he has access to several TV channels and a newspaper. Studying etc., provides his days with a sense of purpose. The compensating measures are well adjusted to Breivik's needs. The Court notes however, that restricted socialization with other inmates is under consideration and will possibly be tested soon.

Based on the considerate risk of violence from and against Breivik, the extensive measures to compensate for the burden of serving his prison sentence, Breivik's mental health, and the extensive procedural guaranties and circumstances, the Court finds that the prison conditions overall do not violate Article 3 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human rights and Fundamental Freedoms ("ECHR"). The Court has assessed the use of body-search and handcuffs during his sentence at Ila Detention and Security Prison. The measures have been necessary to protect both society and Breivik himself. It is improbable that the security could have been satisfyingly safeguarded with alternative means. The Court notes that there should have been fewer occurrences of body-searches without notice, but that the threshold of severity described in Article 3 of ECHR has not been violated.

The Court has, after a comprehensive assessment of the prison conditions, determined that Article 3 of the ECHR has not been violated at present, nor during the period between July 2011 and January 2017 seen as a whole. The same can be said when separately considering his prison sentence at Ila Detention and Security Prison, from July 2011 to September 2013.

The Borgarting Court of Appeal has, like Oslo District Court, determined that Article 8 of ECHR – the right to respect for one's private and family life, his home and his correspondence– has not been violated. The denial of correspondence applies primarily to letters from Breivik to like-minded individuals or to people who are expected to pass the letters on to right-wing extremist networks. The main purpose of the screening of letters has been to protect the society, and these decisions have been made in accordance to the law. The screening of letters has not affected his correspondence with his family nor friends from before the terrorist attacks. There are furthermore no breaches of conventions related to the follow-up on medical needs.


Oslo District Court Judge Ina Strømstad, member of the Judges Media Group, is available to the media for questions regarding the judgment. Her contact info is as follows: Ina Strømstad, Oslo District Court Judge, e-mail:, Office phone: +47 22 03 53 77, mobile phone: + 47 90 04 37 47.For other enquiries, please contact:



The page was updated: 13.03.2017, kl. 13:26