Nobody claims Breivik is being “tortured”

The Norwegian version of this article can be found here.

In his latest Observer column, Nick Cohen is extremely critical of the recent court ruling on Anders Behring Breivik’s prison conditions. Sadly, Cohen’s criticism is based on a large number of incorrect or highly misleading facts – not least the repeated claim that the court ruled that Breivik was being “tortured” in prison.

The fact of the matter is that nobody – not even Breivik’s lawyer, much less the verdict – has claimed that he was being tortured (in the precise and legal sense of the term. (True, Breivik himself has repeatedly complained of “torture”, but the myriad outlandish claims of a deranged terrorist are hardly pertinent or relevant to the point Cohen is attempting to make.)

The charge brought by Breivik’s lawyer – and partially granted by the court – was only the lesser charge of “inhuman and degrading treatment“. Obviously, such an accusation of behalf of a terrorist mass murderer is still highly provocative, but it is significantly and fundamentally different (both legally and emotively) from “torture”.

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