Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik has won a place to study at the University of Oslo from solitary confinement in prison, despite outrage at his massacre of scores of people four years ago.
Breivik killed 77 people in a rampage in Norway in July 2011, claiming he was fighting against multiculturalism and a “Muslim invasion”.
“He meets the admission requirements. We stick to our rules and he will be admitted,” Rector Ole Petter Ottersen told the Reuters news agency, adding that prisoners are eligible to study as long as their academic grades are good enough.
Many were appalled when Breivik, who holds far-right anti-Muslim views and has shown no remorse for his actions, applied for the three-year bachelor’s programme in political science.
Some students now at the university survived his attacks, while others had friends or relatives killed in the massacre.
“I realise there are many feelings involved here. He tried to demolish the system. We have to stay faithful to it,” Ottersen said.
The course includes the study of democracy, human rights and respect for minorities.
‘Hall of fame’
Breivik, now 36, planted a bomb on July 22, 2011 in central Oslo that killed eight people and destroyed the government headquarters.
He then travelled to an island where the then-ruling Labour Party was holding a summer camp for youths and shot dead 69 people, many of them teenagers.
Under the terms of his sentence, Breivik is held in solitary confinement and will be unable to attend lectures or seminars.
All his work will go via prison staff, with no direct contact with professors. Breivik has access to books but not the internet.
“His study will be carried out exclusively in his own cell,” Ottersen said.
Graduating with a degree is currently not an option for Breivik as five out of the nine courses needed would require him to attend university seminars, the AFP news agency said.
Norway will open a “July 22 Centre” next week in Oslo with information and exhibits about the attacks. Some relatives and survivors fear it risks becoming a Breivik “hall of fame”.