Most secure court in Norway history to host Breivik trial
In a month, the gymnasium of Skien prison will be turned in to what will likely be the safest courtroom in Norwegian history as Anders Behring’s Breivik case against the state gets underway.
It is first and foremost security concerns that will cause Oslo District Court to temporarily move to the Skien high security prison, where Anders Breivik is serving time, to hear his complaint that the state is violating his human rights.
Breivik has complained about the use of handcuffs and limitations on his correspondence, among other things, and says that holding him in isolation and limiting his communication constitute human rights violations.
Breivik is serving a 21-year-sentence, with a minimum term of ten years, for the bombing of Oslo’s Regjeringskvartalet (the Government quarter) and the mass killing on the island of Utøya on July 22, 2011. A total of 77 people were killed in the attacks.
Although a number of other court cases have been held under very strict security, no trial has ever seen such stringent measures as the ones being put in place behind the prison walls of Skien.
Security concerns are also be used as grounds to forbid the broadcast of Breivik’s testimony during the case. Judge Ina Strømstad said the court is worried that Breivik will use the case to try to get his message out to an audience.
“It might be that he will give coded messages – messages that might not necessarily be super easy to interpret but that people will pick up on nevertheless,” Strømstrad told broadcaster NRK.
Breivik is being held in a separate high security section of the Skien prison, which entails conditions that Breivik believes violate his human rights. Therefore he has filed suit against the court.
The court case gets underway on March 15th and is scheduled for four days.
Breivik’s lawyer, Øystein Storrvik, consented to the prosecutor’s proposal to hold the trial in the prison gymnasium because he considered it to be the most realistic alternative and better than having Breivik plead his case via video link.