Anders Behring Breivik, a right-wing extremist who killed 77 people in a pre-meditated terrorist attack in Norway four years ago, has been accepted to study political science at the University of Oslo.
Ironically, the mass killer — who ignited a bomb in Oslo that killed eight and gunned down 69 youth at an island summer camp — will learn about democracy and justice, pluralism and respect for human rights, minorities and fundamental freedoms, The Guardian reported.
Behring Breivik killed 77 people as an act against Muslims and multi-culturalism, and preceded his attack with a 1,500-page manifesto. He claimed to be a member of an imaginary Knights Templar group, The Chicago Tribune added.
Family members of some of his victims also attend Oslo University, but they will never see his face. Though his admittance means he can start working toward earning a bachelor’s degree, he likely never will. Five of the nine courses require seminar attendance, Agence-France Presse reported.
And Anders is serving a 21-year sentence — the max in Norway — in solitary. He may remain there after his sentence if the justice system deems him a danger to society. If, and only if, they decide to release him, will Behring Breivik even earn that degree.
Anders will not be allowed out of his cell to attend classes, will have no internet access, and won’t receive personal instruction. He will communicate with the college through an intermediary, BBC added.
Surprisingly, there has been only a little protest to Anders’ admission at the college, said its director Ole Petter Ottersen. He admitted the college faced a “moral dilemma” in admitting the mass murderer.
But Norway’s prison system is based on rehabilitation, and thus focuses on preparing inmates for the outside world upon their release — including education. Ottersen argued that the courts and Norwegians alike felt that making an exception for one criminal — in other words, denying him a right other prisoners receive — was a “slippery slope.”
“The last thing we would do is introduce a separate law for Breivik. It is a person’s right to be admitted to university when they are qualified, and if you deny somebody that right it is the equivalent to meting out an additional punishment, which is not the university’s role.”
At least one of his victims’ family members isn’t opposed to Behring Breivik receiving an education. Lisbeth Kristine Røyneland, lost her 18-year-old daughter Synne in the Utøya massacre; her only concern is that he remain locked up.
“It is important to us that he remains in his cell. To us, it is irrelevant whether he sits there and reads fiction or whether he is studying a book of political science.”
For the first time since Anders Behring Breivik came ashore at the Labor Party summer camp that fateful day in July, 2011, the camp will reopen next month. Enrollment has reached record numbers.
What do you think? Should he have a right to pursue higher education?
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