The office of the National Commissioner of Police rejects the allegations that police used excessive force when arresting two men, both asylum seekers from Palestine, on Tuesday, Vísir reports.
The incident was brought to the public’s attention by the activist group Refugees in Iceland and pictures published by Vísir confirmed that one of the men, who was hospitalized after the incident, sustained injuries to his head and body. The National Commissioner had not previously issued an official statement on the incident but did so on Thursday evening.
Both men have now been deported and sent back to Greece.
Witnesses assert that police used violent force against the men, who had been called to the Directorate of Immigration in Hafnarfjörður to pick up vaccination certificates. They also say that police used a taser on them. The National Commissioner’s Office stated on Wednesday that Icelandic police do not use tasers under any circumstances. Refugees in Iceland maintain that a video taken by a witness on their phone was deleted by police. Police were, however, wearing body cameras at the time and the arrest was also captured by security cameras in the building.
“A preliminary examination of footage of the incident has been carried out by this office and does not indicate that any unnecessary or excessive force was used given the circumstances that were created at the scene,” read the police statement. The statement also asserted that police only resort to the use of force when the situation urgently requires it, for instance, to ensure the safety of the person being arrested or others.
“In light of numerous inquiries, the office [of the National Commissioner of Police] can confirm that the individuals in question have left the country, in accordance with the decision of the relevant authorities regarding the dismissal [of their asylum applications].”
The incident will be referred to a police oversight committee.