Norway: Breivik begins studies at University of Oslo

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Anders Behring Breivik makes a salute after arriving in the court room at a courthouse in Oslo (24 August 2012)
Image caption,
Anders Behring Breivik told his trial the attacks were necessary to stop the "Islamisation" of Norway.

The man convicted of murdering 77 people in attacks in Norway in 2011 has enrolled at the University of Oslo to study political science.

Anders Behring Breivik, who is serving a 21-year sentence, has not been admitted to a degree-granting programme, but will study modules.

The 34-year-old will study at his high security prison and will not have direct contact with university staff.

The university stressed the importance of treating Breivik fairly.

The far-right extremist carried out his atrocities on 22 July 2011.

He set off a bomb in Oslo's government district, before travelling to the island of Utoeya where he shot people attending the Norwegian Labour Party's summer youth camp.

Many of his victims were teenagers.

Image caption,
Most of Anders Behring Breivik's victims were young people taking part in a Labour Party summer camp on the island of Utoeya

'Moral dilemmas'

Oslo University's president, Ole Petter Ottersen, said all citizens had a right to pursue higher education.

While acknowledging "moral dilemmas" in the case, Mr Ottersen said the fact that Breivik's application was dealt with in accordance to the rules "does not imply that Norwegians lack passion or that anger and vengefulness are absent.

"What it demonstrates is that our values are fundamentally different from his."

The university head added that under no circumstances would the killer be admitted to campus.

Study room

The University of Oslo found that Breivik's existing qualifications did not meet the entry requirements for a degree in political science, but has allowed him to enrol for individual modules.

Breivik has recently been moved from Ila prison outside Oslo to a high security unit at Telemark prison in the town of Skien, the BBC's Anne Leer in Oslo reports.

The prison governor told the BBC that Breivik will be able to borrow the books and materials he needs to study and will have a separate study room made available to him.

Image caption,
The University of Oslo is the largest in Norway

The Norwegian Labour Party lost power after eight years in a general election held on Monday, in which some survivors of the Utoeya massacre were candidates.

The government of Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg was defeated by an alliance of right-wing parties, including the populist Progress Party.

Anders Behring Breivik had previously been a member of the Progress Party. The party has clearly distanced itself from the killer.

Image caption,
Norway's Progress Party, led by Siv Jensen, came third in Monday's vote - the first general election since Breivik's attacks

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