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OSLO (Reuters) - Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik says he is being tortured in prison because he is held in isolation and subjected to body searches, and has made a formal complaint to police about his treatment, his lawyer said on Thursday.
Police will now investigate the complaints made by Breivik against Norwegian Justice Minister Grete Faremo and Knut Bjarkeid, director of the maximum security Ila prison on the outskirts of Oslo where he is being held.
"Breivik has made a complaint to the police of torture," his lawyer, Tord Joret, told Reuters.
"Breivik believes they are trying to make his situation in prison as unlivable and unbearable as possible so as to pressure him to commit suicide."
In July 2011, the far-right militant killed 77 people in a bombing in central Oslo and a shooting spree on a nearby island in attacks that stunned Norway's five million inhabitants.
Since then he has been held in solitary confinement inside the prison where his cell comprises of three rooms: one to sleep, a second for study and a third for exercise, each measuring about eight square metres (86 square feet).
"Breivik says he has been totally isolated from other inmates for one-and-half year, that he has been subjected to degrading body inspections and that he has had no possibilities to get fresh air nor to have recreational activity," said Joret.
He added Breivik believed his freedom of speech had been infringed.
"He is not allowed to discuss any ideology with anybody ... He wants to explain what he did and why he did it and clear away misunderstandings but he feels he is being censored because whatever he says can be read as an incitement to violence," he said.
The Justice Ministry said that anyone in Norway has the right to make a report to the police.
"The case is very well documented and we will give the police all the information that they want," the ministry said in a statement.
Bjarkeid was not available for comment when contacted by Reuters. In an interview with the daily VG last summer, he said Breivik could not have normal contacts inside the detention facility because of the risk he could take someone hostage.
"Many of the measures surrounding Breivik are being created to avoid a hostage-taking, which would be the only way for him to get through all the different layers of security that have been established between him and freedom," he told the paper.
"That makes it impossible to allow normal contact with others."
Breivik's lawyer said a complaint about the conditions of his client's detention had been sent last autumn to the civil ombudsman, who handles complaints about prisons, but had yet to be answered.
Editing by Sophie Hares