Europe

Oslo University rejects Breivik application for course

Anders Behring Breivik in court in Oslo, 24 August 2012
Image caption Breivik never finished school

Oslo University has rejected an application from Norwegian mass killer Anders Behring Breivik for a place, saying he lacks qualifications.

News last month that the man whose attacks two years ago had traumatised Norway was now seeking a college place reportedly caused outrage.

But it was also known that the 34-year-old had not completed school.

Breivik is serving a 21-year sentence in a prison near Oslo for killing 77 people, most of them adolescents.

On 22 July 2011, he set off a bomb in a car near government offices in the capital before travelling to a lake island, where he shot people attending a summer camp of the ruling Labour Party's youth wing.

He said the meticulously planned twin attacks, which also left 244 people injured, were aimed at stopping the "Islamisation" of Norway.

A court convicted him of terrorism and premeditated murder, and handed down the maximum sentence of 21 years' imprisonment.

'A punishment'

The university's rector, Ole Petter Ottersen, told AFP news agency: "The conclusion is that he isn't considered sufficiently qualified to start a course in political science."

Breivik's lawyer, Vibeke Hein Baera, said he had been studying in prison to meet the necessary criteria for higher education.

"He's collecting points to study at university," she said. "He studied mathematics this summer and will certainly study other material to reach the required level."

Several unnamed members of college staff who spoke to Norway's TV2 channel last month said they were opposed to any dealings with the killer.

"I understand very well that this causes reactions, it is human to feel that," Mr Ottersen commented at the time.

However, Per Anders Torvik Langerod, a political scientist and politician from the Labour Party's youth wing, suggested that a course at the university might make Breivik confront his own extreme beliefs.

"Blindern [Oslo University] is a place where one learns that one should pursue one's opinions with words," he said.

"You cannot tape over the mouths of those you disagree with, or shoot them, and that's some of what I hope will be a punishment for Breivik. If he wants to relate to these studies and get what he wants, credits, he must do it our way."

Knut Bjarkeid, the director of Ila prison where Breivik is being held, told TV2 the jail would always try to help its inmates "get a formal qualification so that they have the ability to get a job when they come out".

Speaking to BBC News last year, prison spokeswoman Ellen Bjercke said that if Breivik qualified for educational activities, he would only be allowed to use a special internet server run by the prison "with a lot of filters".

He has the use of a laptop without an internet connection and can order books from the prison library, which is part of the public library network.

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