Breivik bound for 'specially equipped' Norwegian prison after verdict

PUBLISHED : Friday, 24 August, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 24 August, 2012, 12:10pm


Regardless of whether an Oslo court sentences him to prison or closed psychiatric care today, Norwegian gunman Anders Behring Breivik is set to spend his days at a specially-adapted high-security prison.

The 33-year-old right-wing extremist has confessed to last year's twin attacks that left 77 people dead. But faced with contradictory expert opinions, the five district court judges must decide if Breivik (pictured) is sane and goes to jail or insane and bound for a mental asylum.

Either way, he will be calling the top-security Ila prison just outside Oslo home.

"We are ready to receive Mr Behring Breivik if he is sentenced to preventive detention [prison] and also if he is sentenced to compulsory psychiatric care," Ila prison governor Knut Bjarkeid said on Wednesday.

On July 22, 2011, Breivik set off a car bomb outside the government offices in Oslo, killing eight people, before going to the island of Utoeya, northwest of the capital, where he spent more than an hour gunning down another 69 people, mostly teenagers, attending a Labour Party youth camp.

To accommodate the perpetrator of Norway's deadliest attacks since the second world war, Ila is planning to build a new wing to serve as a small hospital if Breivik is ordered to undergo psychiatric care.

If he is sent to Ila prison, Breivik could find himself in similar quarters to the ones he has occupied since his arrest, where he would initially be kept apart from the other inmates.

He currently has access to three relatively dingy and bare cells, each measuring 86 sq ft. One is for sleeping, one is for physical exercise with workout machines, and one is a workspace with a laptop.

The computer is not connected to the internet, according to tabloid
Verdens Gang, or
VG. It is not yet known if Breivik will be allowed to keep the computer after today's verdict.

In May,
VG sparked public consternation when it claimed that Ila management planned to pay people to keep Breivik company, such as play chess with him, to break his total isolation since that could be criticised by the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

Bjercke denied the report, calling it a "misunderstanding". "The idea is to increase contacts with the prison staff who are tasked with keeping him active, doing physical exercise with him, talking to him," she said.

If Breivik is ordered to undergo psychiatric treatment - which he opposes because he does not want his nationalist and anti-Islam ideology to be considered crazy - he will be admitted to the small hospital that Ila is planning to build by late 2013.