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Milosevic sits out trial in easy prison conditions

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THE HAGUE, Netherlands — The Dutch prison where Slobodan Milosevic is being jailed by the U.N. war crimes tribunal is comfortable by international standards, with a library, art classes and unlimited private visits with spouses.

Tribunal officials say Milosevic will be kept isolated from other prisoners for the first 30 days in the jail, which is housed in a wing of a seaside Dutch penitentiary in Scheveningen, outside The Hague.

The detention unit is spread over four floors with 12 cells each. It is patrolled by U.N. guards following U.N. regulations. The 38 other suspects currently in detention are in individual cells of 10 feet by 17 feet, fitted with a shower, toilet, wash basin and desk.

Prisoners are free to go to the library, the gym, the recreation room and an outdoor courtyard.

They can watch cable television and take courses in arts, languages or sciences. They have access to a personal doctor, nurse, physical education instructor, psychiatrist, priest or religious leader of their choice.

Prisoners buy supplies from a prison shop and have access to a kitchen. They can see visitors as often as they wish, and in private if they are married.

Popular prison sports are soccer, basketball and volleyball, most often played in the evenings after trial hearings and dinner.

Most inmates are middle-aged men without criminal records and from privileged backgrounds or positions of authority. There is one woman inmate, Bljana Plavsic, the former Bosnian Serb president.

If convicted, prisoners do not remain in the Netherlands, but serve their sentences in countries that have volunteered their prison facilities.