Anders Behring Breivik
Anders Behring Breivik sits inside the court room in Skien prison, Norway Reuters

Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik has won a court ruling against his country arguing the conditions of his detention are inhuman and degrading. An Oslo district court found that the prolonged solitary confinement imposed on the far-right extremist is in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights.

"The prohibition of inhuman and degrading treatment represents a fundamental value in a democratic society," the court said. "This applies no matter what — also in the treatment of terrorists and killers."

Breivik is serving a 21-year prison term for killing 77 people in 2011. On 22 July 2011, the neo-Nazi fanatic set off a bomb that killed eight people in the capital, before going on a shooting rampage that left another 69 dead on the Island of Utoya, where a youth camp run by the centre-left Labour party was being held.

He is currently held at a high security facility in Skien, where he enjoys access to three cells used as living quarters, study area and exercise room. He also has a television, a PlayStation games console, a computer but no internet access and has facilities to cook his own meals and do laundry.

However the 37-year-old is kept apart from other inmates, a circumstance that the court found breached his rights. He is only allowed to communicate with guards and professional staff.

The verdict said authorities should have given more consideration to the effect of detention on Breivik's mental state. During hearings held inside the prison the killer also complained about food and compared himself to anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela.

Breivik also argued his right to respect for his private and family life was also being violated in jail, where he is subjected to frequent strip searches and has his correspondence read. The claim was however dismissed by the court which nevertheless awarded him 331,000 kroner (£28,000, $41,000) in legal costs.