Norway’s convicted far-right killer Anders Behring Breivik is to be transferred to a new jail reputed to have one of the most liberal regimes in Europe after complaining about isolation which amounted to “torture” at his current high-security prison north of Oslo.
Breivik was jailed for a maximum 21 years in 2012 after being found guilty of murdering 77 people in twin terror attacks in Olso and at a Norwegian Labour party youth camp in 2011. He gunned down his teenage victims with an automatic rifle
The 34-year-old has been held in a purpose-built unit at Ila prison since his conviction. But yesterday the prison service revealed he will be relocated to Skien jail, south of the capital – a detention centre considered one of the most liberal in a country renowned for is lenient treatment of offenders.
“There is no special drama in this,” said Jan Erik Sandlie, deputy director of Norway’s prison service.
“That is the way we work in correctional services, ensuring that prisoners are sometimes moved between institutions,” he added.
He said Breivik’s complaints had nothing to do with the move.
Inmates at Skien, which is a conventional walled prison, live in individual cells equipped with computers, televisions, private showers and lavatories. They are also provided with generous education and training facilities
Erwin James, a convicted murderer and prisoners’ rights campaigner visited Skien in 2008 and concluded: “The loss of liberty was all the punishment they suffered. Prisoners are treated like men and provided with a constructive and meaningful regime.”
Breivik wrote a 27-page letter to Norway’s prison authorities late last year complaining that he was being forced to spend 23 hours a day alone in his cell at Ila. He said his isolation amounted to “torture”.
He also complained he had a poor view from his cell window, that he was not permitted to use a skin moisturiser and that he wasn’t allowed enough butter on his bread. “I doubt there are worse detention facilities in Norway,” he said.
Norway’s prison authorities said that Breivik had asked to be transferred to Skien several times. He spent some time there before his trial before.
Last month Breivik caused controversy after requesting permission to enrol on a political science course at Oslo University. At his trial he claimed that his mass murder was a political act designed to prevent “Muslim domination” of Europe.