Terror Suspect’s Defence Attorney “Astonished” by “Vague” Charges

Héraðsdómur Reykjavíkur Reykjavík District Court

Earlier today at the District Court of Reykjavík, formal charges were brought against two men suspected of planning a domestic-terror attack. A defence attorney for one of the suspects has told Vísir that he is “astonished” by the charges.

Custody extended by an additional four weeks

As reported earlier today, the District Prosecutor filed a motion for extended custody over two men suspected of planning a domestic terror attack earlier this year. The court approved the motion, and custody was extended for an additional four weeks.

Formal charges were also brought against the two suspects. One of the suspects was charged with an act of attempted terrorism and weapons offences. The other suspected was charged as an accomplice to an act of attempted terrorism, weapons offences, and a minor narcotics violation.

Hairy as a “chimpanzee’s back”

Speaking to Vísir today, Sveinn Andri Sveinsson, defence attorney for one of the suspects, stated that he was “astonished” by the charges: “They’re charged with unspecified offences against an unspecified group of people at an unspecified time between May and September. It’s as hairy as a chimpanzee’s back.”

According to Sveinn Andri, the police authorities had been too extreme in their initial operations. “The only attempted offence, in this case, was an attempt to destroy the lives of two young men,” Sveinn Andri observed.

“The charges are founded on weapons that they had hoarded. My client was not in possession of any weapons. There’s a reference to weapon production. These are probably the first terrorists who hoard weapons but then sell them before committing an act of terrorism, which must constitute a highly questionable for of preparation,” Sveinn Andri remarked.

Sveinn Andri added that he and his client would have to “roll with the punches.” They would begin by examining a motion for dismissal, given the vague nature of the charges.

“It’s complete nonsense. Terrible. You’ve completely upended the lives of these two young men on the basis of ego. The police jumped the gun in the beginning and everything that they’ve done since has been geared toward justifying that initial jump.”

Charges to Be Brought Against Domestic-Terror Plot Suspects

Weapons and ammunition

The District Prosecutor will push for continued custody over two men suspected of planning a domestic terror attack earlier this year. Formal charges are expected to be brought against the men at the District Court of Reykjavík today.

Up to six years in prison

Four Icelandic men were arrested on September 21 suspected of “terrorist plots” against state institutions and civilians. Two of the suspects were immediately released; the other two have remained in custody.

Speaking to RÚV today, district attorney Karl Ingi Vilbergsson stated that the District Prosecutor has decided to charge the two suspects for violating Article No. 100 of Iceland’s General Penal Code. The charges are expected to be introduced when prosecutors motion for extended custody over the two men at the District Court of Reykjavík today. RÚV notes that this is likely the first time that such a charge is brought in Iceland.

In an interview with Mbl.is, however, Karl Ingi stated that the District Prosecutor had “never considered” charging the suspects on the basis of Article No. 100 of Iceland’s General Penal Code. He was not willing to offer further detail on the content of the charges at this time.

As previously noted, the two suspects arrested in September had hoarded numerous weapons – including dozens of semi-automatic guns and 3D-printed components – alongside a considerable amount of ammunition. The men, both of whom are in their twenties, had also discussed carrying out attacks against various political figures, among them Minister Guðlaugur Þór Þórðarson and Chairman of Efling, Sólveig Anna Jónsdóttir.

Article 100 of Iceland’s Penal Code: [Art. 100 a [Punishment of up to lifelong imprisonment shall be imposed on any person committing one or more of the following acts of terrorism with the intention of causing the public serious fear or unlawfully compelling the Icelandic or foreign authorities, or international institutions, to take action or refrain from taking action with a view to weakening or damaging the constitutional structure or the political, economic or social basis of the state or international institution:]1)

Article 20 of the General Penal Code states that for “an attempted offence, a more lenient punishment may be imposed than for a completed offence.”

This article will be updated.

Icelandic Cod Stock Endangered by Warming Waters

capelin loðna fishing

Unprecedented changes to the waters surrounding Iceland may put the nation’s cod stock in danger, a professor in biological oceanography has told Fréttablaðið. A new era in our ocean biosphere is under way.

Warming waters, new patterns

Katherine Richardson is a professor in biological oceanography at the University of Copenhagen and the leader of the ROCS (Queen Margrethe’s and Vigdís Finnbogadóttir´s Interdisciplinary Research Centre on Ocean, Climate, and Society).

Among the ROCS’ research projects is analysing core samples extracted from the ocean floor in Reykjanes by a vessel operated by Iceland’s Marine & Freshwater Research Institute (Hafró). The results of the research are being introduced at a conference in Reykholt, Fréttablaðið reports.

“We can expect changes to fish stocks around Iceland, a decrease in certain species, e.g. cod, which prefer colder waters, and an increase in species that prefer warmer waters, e.g. mackerel and sardines,” Katherine told Fréttablaðið.

New research shows that formerly unknown changes are occurring in the waters surrounding Iceland. Katherine emphasises, however, that it’s currently not possible to generalise regarding the effect of these changes on fish stocks in Iceland.

“We’re entering a new era when it comes to the ocean biosphere, including fisheries,” Katherine observed, adding that those who participate in the fishing industry need to be aware of these changes.

As reported by Fréttablaðið this summer, the cod quota will be lowered by 13% next year; Iceland’s Marine & Freshwater Research Institute has overestimated cod recruitment over the past few years.

More research required

Fréttablaðið also quotes Daði Már Kristófersson, professor of economics at the University of Iceland, who stated that there are plenty of unknowns when it comes to the ecosystem surrounding Iceland – and that it is surprising, given the stakes, that Icelanders have not investigated these ecosystems.

Research indicates that capelin – a cold-water fish and a key food for cod – propagation patterns are changing.

As noted in an article in the New York Times in 2019, ocean temperatures around Iceland have increased between 1.8 and 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit over the past 20 years.

Deep North Episode 3: Closer to the Stars

John Snorri við Stein á Esjunni

John Snorri was an Icelandic mountaineer who summited the treacherous K2 during winter. 

Presumed dead alongside his two companions Ali Sadpara and Juan Pablo Mohr in February of last year, we talked with John Snorri before the fateful expedition, and ask what drives us to such heights.

Read the full story here.

Hot Water Shortage in Selfoss: Public Pool Closed Indefinitely

Selfoss - Suðurland - Ölfusá

A fire in an electrical box of the Selfossveitur utility company has led to a hot-water shortage in Selfoss. The Árborg municipality has encouraged residents to save water and the public swimming pool in Selfoss has been closed indefinitely.

Contingency plan activated

As noted in a press release from the Árborg municipality yesterday, an electrical box in one of the boreholes of the Selfossveitur utility company caught fire on the night before Thursday, December 8. The fire forced a reduction in energy production, leading to a shortage of hot water.  

Selfossveitur subsequently activated its contingency plan, with residents of the Árborg municipality being encouraged to use their hot water sparingly. The municipality’s website offers advice to residents on how best to save water, including ensuring that windows and front doors remain closed and making sure that radiators are not blocked by long curtains or furniture.

In light of the shortages, Sundhöll Selfoss, the public swimming pool in the town of Selfoss, has been indefinitely closed.

“Which is why we’ve decided to close the Selfoss public swimming pool indefinitely. We will let you know immediately when we have a more detailed timeline regarding when we’ll open again,” a press release from the Selfoss swimming pool on Facebook reads.


Árborg municipality
Fire in electrical junction box (Arborg.is)