Norway's mass murderer Breivik says he will fight 'to the death' for National Socialism

Mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik getting his handcuffs removed inside the court room in Skien prison, Norway, on March 16, 2016.
Mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik getting his handcuffs removed inside the court room in Skien prison, Norway, on March 16, 2016.PHOTO: REUTERS

SKIEN PRISON, NORWAY (AFP) - Mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik vowed to fight "to the death" for Nazism as he took the stand on Wednesday (March 16) in a lawsuit against the Norwegian state, confirming fears he would use the platform to grandstand his extremist views.

"I have fought for National Socialism for 25 years, and I will fight for it to the death," he said of the Nazi party's political doctrine.

The right-wing extremist had defiantly made a Nazi salute on the first day of proceedings on Tuesday but obeyed a judge's orders not to do so on Wednesday.

Norwegian authorities have refused to broadcast his testimony on television to try to prevent him sending coded messages to supporters and out of respect for survivors of his murderous spree in 2011 and the families of the victims.

Describing himself as a model prisoner, the 37-year-old charged that the state "has been trying to kill me for five years" by keeping him in isolation, which he described as "torture".

Three hours were set aside for the court to hear Norway's most infamous inmate outline his prison conditions, which are considered more than comfortable by many.

Breivik is serving a maximum 21-year sentence - which can be extended if he is still considered dangerous - for killing eight people in a bomb attack outside a government building in Oslo on July 22, 2011, and then murdering another 69 people, most of them teenagers, in a rampage at a Labour Youth camp on the island of Utoya.

His shooting spree lasted an hour and 13 minutes, as he methodically stalked and killed many of the 600 up-and-coming leaders of Labour, Norway's dominant political party, which he blamed for the rise of multiculturalism.

He finished off many of his victims with a bullet to the head.

He has accused the state of breaching two clauses of the European Convention on Human Rights, one which prohibits "inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment", and one which guarantees the right of respect for "private and family life" and "correspondence".

Taking the stand for his first public statement since his sentencing in August 2012, Breivik said he was the secretary of an extremist party he is trying to create, the Nordic State Political Party.

In a letter to AFP dated October 2014, Breivik described himself as a "militant nationalist" and said he had pledged his "allegiance to National Socialism".

For security reasons, the case is being heard in the gymnasium of the Skien Prison in southern Norway where he is imprisoned.

On the stand, Breivik claimed to have been subjected to 885 strip-searches since his arrest almost five years ago.

"It's understandable when it's justified, for example when it involves people who have a violent past or something like that, but I have been conducting myself in exemplary fashion for five years," Breivik said.

He called the searches "humiliating" and "senseless".

He has access to three cells - one for living, one for studying and a third for physical exercise - as well as a television, a computer without Internet access, a games console, books and newspapers, and puzzles. He is able to prepare his own food and do his own laundry, according to state representatives.

The case is seen as a new test for Norway's legal system, as the country tries to forget the name of the perpetrator behind the deadliest carnage on its soil since World War II.

His lawyer has argued that his isolation has left him suffering "clear damage", citing memory loss and an inability to focus on his political science studies.

Lawyers for the state, Marius Emberland and Adele Matheson Mestad, argued Tuesday that Breivik was in relatively good shape and held in conditions "well within the limits of what is permitted" under the European convention.

Emberland also stressed the risks both he and other inmates would face if he were to be allowed to mix with them.

"Breivik is an extremely dangerous man," he said, noting he was not deprived of human contact and did interact with others, notably prison staff.

Mestad also said the censorship of Breivik's mail - around 600 of 4,000 letters have been seized and others have been partially censored - was needed to prevent exchanges with supporters that could yield "a new Breivik".