Skip to main content

Anger in Norway over claim Anders Breivik has applied to university

By Per Nyberg and Laura Smith-Spark, CNN
updated 12:09 PM EDT, Wed July 31, 2013
(File) Self confessed mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik stands in Oslo District Court on August 24, 2012.
(File) Self confessed mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik stands in Oslo District Court on August 24, 2012.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Anders Behring Breivik has applied to study political science, Norwegian broadcaster says
  • University of Oslo says it cannot confirm or deny details of individual applications
  • Education Minister suggests Breivik's application was denied
  • Breivik's lawyer says he is still working to spread his far-right political views from his cell

(CNN) -- Reports that Anders Behring Breivik, the man who killed 77 people in a bomb attack and gun rampage in 2011, has applied to study political science at the University of Oslo have prompted anger in Norway.

The claim was first made by Norwegian broadcaster TV2 and was subsequently picked up by other media outlets.

Ole Petter Ottersen, rector of the University of Oslo, told CNN the university does not provide information about individual applications or students for confidentiality reasons, so he was unable to confirm or deny the claim.

But if Breivik was to apply, he said, the university has a clear set of guidelines governing the decision on admittance and that policy would apply.

Utoya survivor: Have to fight extremism
Rap duo unite post-Breivik Norway
Welner: Breivik left a legacy

Breivik was sentenced to the maximum possible term of 21 years in prison last August for the horrifying attack, which targeted a government building in Oslo and a Labour Party summer youth camp on Utoya island.

He is serving his sentence in a high security wing of Ila Prison, where he has space for physical exercise as well as study and reading.

But the suggestion that he might also be able to follow a course at the prestigious university from his cell has angered some Norwegians.

Per Anders Langerod, a survivor of the Utoya shooting who finished his Political Science degree last year, told TV2 he would not have wanted Breivik in his class.

Norway PM: 'Honor dead by celebrating life'

"It would have been very uncomfortable. I also understand others who think it would have been very uncomfortable. I mean that we can't expect people to just accept it," he told the broadcaster.

In the wake of the reports, Norway's Education Minister Kristin Halvorsen said Wednesday that the ministry was reviewing its rules on allowing inmates to study -- although that did not mean they would necessarily change.

Her statement appeared to confirm that Breivik had applied to the university, and that his application had been turned down.

"As far as the Ministry of Education knows he has not been accepted to any studies and he has been rejected in the normal admission process to the University of Oslo," Halvorsen said of Breivik.

Students who meet the admissions criteria will not normally be excluded unless they pose a danger to other students and staff, she said -- an assessment that is made by the correctional service.

But in Breivik's case, even if he was admitted to the course he would not be taking part in the university's normal classes, studies or exams, she said.

"For an inmate of Anders Behring Breivik's security level, it would be a matter of self-study in the cell, exams in the cell and possibly oral exams in the prison," she said.

When he was given a 21-year sentence last year, after being judged sane, Breivik was ordered to serve a minimum of 10 years in prison. The sentence could be extended, potentially indefinitely, in the future if he is considered still to pose a threat to society.

Meanwhile, comments from his lawyers suggest that Breivik still seeks to voice and validate the extreme ultranationalist views he outlined in an online "manifesto" published before the July 22, 2011, attack and during his trial.

A year ago, attorney Tord Jordet told the Norwegian press that Breivik wanted to study political science and write books.

And in an interview broadcast Sunday by CNN affiliate TV4 Sweden, Breivik's chief trial lawyer, Geir Lippestad, confirmed that his client was still seeking to disseminate his racist, far-right views from behind bars.

He is not allowed access to the Internet, Lippestad said, but Breivik writes letters and sends them to his supporters. "They then post them on the Internet so that his opinions are still spread," he said.

Breivik has even unsuccessfully tried to start a political party from his cell, said the lawyer, who has written a book about his experience defending Breivik.

"His political project is not finished," he said of Breivik. "He has his extreme right-wing opinions, and is still working to convince others to take up the same opinions."

Lippestad told TV4 he is concerned that the kind of views espoused by Breivik are not being discussed in wider society, allowing them to remain unchallenged.

"In this, Norway hasn't made any progress from where we were two years ago, on July 22. And that worries me," he said.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 4:09 PM EDT, Tue September 23, 2014
The U.S. and several Arab nations carried out airstrikes against ISIS in Syria, intensifying the campaign against the militant group.
updated 8:18 AM EDT, Tue September 23, 2014
Her friends were raped and her brother was killed by ISIS, but 15-year-old "Aria" managed to escape.
updated 6:58 AM EDT, Tue September 23, 2014
Emma Watson lent her name and her glittery profile to the cause of feminism at the United Nations.
updated 9:06 PM EDT, Mon September 22, 2014
From Gadhafi to Ahmadinejad, Bush to Chavez: look back at memorable moments from past UNGA sessions. Richard Roth reports.
updated 3:41 AM EDT, Tue September 23, 2014
Just days after NASA's Mars orbiter reached the Red Planet, India's first mission could follow suit and make history.
updated 7:14 PM EDT, Tue September 23, 2014
Khorasan, al Qaeda's new branch, seeks new ways to attack America and Europe.
Alibaba officially became the biggest initial public offering of all time, confirming that in the final tally it raised $25 billion.
updated 10:57 PM EDT, Mon September 22, 2014
Do the Chinese really like to mix their Bordeaux with Coca-Cola?
updated 5:36 AM EDT, Tue September 23, 2014
Cape Town native, Janine Davies is South Africa's first female rider to compete on a national level.
In the largely male-dominated world of the motorsport, South African super bike racer Janine Davies is an anomaly.
updated 7:30 AM EDT, Tue September 23, 2014
The Lilongwe Wildlife Center houses over 200 animal victims and helps rehabilitate them back into the wild.
updated 6:52 AM EDT, Tue September 23, 2014
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT