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An appeals court in Norway is considering whether the prison conditions under which mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik is being held amount to a violation of his human rights.

The six-day trial ended Wednesday in a makeshift courtroom inside Skien prison in southern Norway where Breivik, 37, is serving a 21-year sentence for killing 77 people in a 2011 bomb-and-shooting rampage.

Breivik's lawyer, Oystein Storrvik, spent most of the last day seeking to show that restrictions on his client's visitors and the strict control over Breivik's mail and phone calls have led to a lack of human interaction and privacy, which amounts to a violation of his rights.

The case is "really about a person that is sitting very, very alone in a small prison within a prison" since 2012, explained Storrvik.

He dismissed the benefits of the weekly visits by a state-appointed prison confidante for Breivik, saying "it's a paid job."

Addressing the court last week, Breivik said his solitary confinement had deeply damaged him and made him even more radical in his neo-Nazi beliefs.

The Norwegian state rejected the criticism and said efforts to find a prison confidante show the authorities have "gone out of their way" to remedy the situation.

In a surprise verdict last year, the Oslo District Court sided with Breivik, finding that his isolation was "inhuman (and) degrading" and breached the European Convention on Human Rights. It ordered the government to pay his legal costs.

But it dismissed Breivik's claim that his right to respect for private and family life was violated by restrictions on contacts with other right-wing extremists, a decision that Breivik is appealing.

If the state loses the appeal, Breivik's prison regime will have to be revised. The government could decide to take the case to the Norwegian Supreme court.

A ruling is expected in February.



Former NFL star Aaron Hernandez is expected in a Boston courtroom for a pretrial hearing in his upcoming double murder trial.

Hernandez is accused of killing two men he encountered at a Boston nightclub in 2012. Prosecutors say the former New England Patriots tight end followed the men and opened fire on their car at a stop light after one of them accidentally bumped into Hernandez and spilled his drink.

Hernandez is due in Suffolk Superior Court Thursday, when a judge is expected to hear arguments on defense motions. Hernandez's trial is scheduled to begin next month.

Hernandez has pleaded not guilty. He's already serving a life sentence in the 2013 killing of semi-professional football player Odin Lloyd.



An appeals court in Norway is considering whether the prison conditions under which mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik is being held amount to a violation of his human rights.

The six-day trial ended Wednesday in a makeshift courtroom inside Skien prison in southern Norway where Breivik, 37, is serving a 21-year sentence for killing 77 people in a 2011 bomb-and-shooting rampage.

Breivik's lawyer, Oystein Storrvik, spent most of the last day seeking to show that restrictions on his client's visitors and the strict control over Breivik's mail and phone calls have led to a lack of human interaction and privacy, which amounts to a violation of his rights.

The case is "really about a person that is sitting very, very alone in a small prison within a prison" since 2012, explained Storrvik.

He dismissed the benefits of the weekly visits by a state-appointed prison confidante for Breivik, saying "it's a paid job."

Addressing the court last week, Breivik said his solitary confinement had deeply damaged him and made him even more radical in his neo-Nazi beliefs.

The Norwegian state rejected the criticism and said efforts to find a prison confidante show the authorities have "gone out of their way" to remedy the situation.

In a surprise verdict last year, the Oslo District Court sided with Breivik, finding that his isolation was "inhuman (and) degrading" and breached the European Convention on Human Rights. It ordered the government to pay his legal costs.



A man suspected of fatally shooting a Florida police officer spoke out of turn and was defiant in an Orlando courtroom where he made an initial appearance on charges of killing his pregnant ex-girlfriend.

Forty-one-year-old Markeith Loyd told the judge Thursday morning that he plans to represent himself and said the charges against him were made up. The judge ordered Loyd held without bond.

Loyd's eye was bandaged and two officers flanked him as he stood at the podium wearing a bullet-proof vest. He was injured during his arrest Tuesday night following a weeklong manhunt.

Loyd faces multiple charges including first-degree murder, unlawful killing of an unborn child and attempted murder in the December death of Sade Dixon. He hasn't been charged in the death of Lt. Debra Clayton who was gunned down while she searched for him outside a Wal-Mart store Jan. 9.



The U.S. Supreme Court says it wants to hear more arguments before deciding whether to consider New Jersey's challenge to a federal sports betting ban.
 
The court had been expected to announce a decision Tuesday.

Instead, it asked the U.S. solicitor general to weigh in. That could mean several more months before a decision is made.

New Jersey is challenging a 1992 federal law that restricts sports betting to Nevada and three other states.

The four major pro sports leagues and the NCAA sued to stop New Jersey in 2012.

New Jersey claims the federal law violates the Constitution by preventing states from repealing their own laws.

Several states including Mississippi, West Virginia, Arizona, Louisiana and Wisconsin have joined New Jersey's effort.



Ahmer Abbasi speaks softly as he describes the strip searches, the extra shoves, the curses that he endured in a federal jail in Brooklyn following the Sept. 11 attacks.

"I don't think I deserved it," Abbasi said during a telephone interview with The Associated Press from his home in Karachi, Pakistan.

Abbasi's quiet, matter-of-fact tone belies his determination, even after 15 years, to seek justice in American courts — provided the Supreme Court will let him.

The justices on Wednesday are hearing an appeal from former Attorney General John Ashcroft, former FBI Director Robert Mueller and other former U.S. officials that seeks to shut down the lawsuit that human rights lawyers have filed on behalf of Abbasi and others over their harsh treatment and prolonged detention.

"Somebody has to be accountable, somebody has to be responsible," said Abbasi, 42, who works in real estate in Pakistan.

The former officials, including the top immigration enforcement officer and the warden and deputy warden at the New York City jail, say it should not be them.

"Senior government officials should not be regularly second-guessed by lawsuits seeking money damages from them in their personal capacity," said Richard Samp, chief counsel at the Washington Legal Foundation and author of a brief from four former attorneys general.

Abbasi was among more than 80 men who were picked up in the days and weeks following Sept. 11 on immigration violations. Until then, he said he had been "living the American dream" since coming from Pakistan in 1993. He was living in Jersey City, New Jersey, across the river from Manhattan and driving a taxi in New York.

He acknowledges he remained in the United States after he should have left and that he entered into a fraudulent marriage so he could get a coveted "green card" that would allow him to stay in the U.S. legally. He might never have been caught except for the terrorist attacks and the aggressive response of officials who wanted to be sure there would be no follow-on strikes.



An Egyptian court ruled on Monday against the government's decision to hand over two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia — a landmark verdict likely to deepen tensions with the kingdom and embarrass President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi.

The ruling by the Supreme Administrative Court in Cairo rejected an appeal by el-Sissi's government against a lower court's decision in June to annul the islands' handover agreement. That deal was signed last April during a high-profile visit by the Saudi monarch, King Salman, who during the visit pledged billions of dollars to Egypt in loans and investments.

The agreement was condemned by many Egyptians who perceived it as a land sell-off. Others saw the surrender of Egyptian territory by el-Sissi and his government as a worrying precedent.

The deal also sparked the largest protests against el-Sissi's two-year rule. Ignoring the legal process, the government late last month sent the deal to parliament — a 596-seat chamber packed with el-Sissi supporters — for ratification.

Monday's verdict was met by an eruption of jubilation by activists and lawyers in the Nile-side Cairo courtroom, with some singing the national anthem and chanting patriotic slogans.


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