Europe

Mass killer Breivik applies for university in Norway

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

Norwegian mass killer Anders Behring Breivik has applied for a place at Oslo University - a move that is reportedly causing outrage among staff.

The head of the university's political science institute confirmed a request had been made by the man whose attacks two years ago traumatised Norway.

No decision has been made on whether to accept it, Ole Petter Ottersen added.

Breivik, who is serving a 21-year sentence in a prison near Oslo, killed 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 sought to justify the meticulously planned twin attacks, which also left 244 people injured, by saying they 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'

Mr Ottersen confirmed for AFP news agency a Norwegian TV report that Breivik was seeking to enrol at the university.

"We don't know if his candidacy will be accepted," he said.

One formal obstacle to his enrolment may be his lack of qualifications, as he did not complete secondary school, according to AFP news agency.

Several unnamed members of college staff who spoke to Norway's TV2 channel 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.

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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