Ragnar Adalsteinsson, who represented some of the defendants in the case of the Icelandic parliament, Althingi, against the Reykjavík 9, a group of people accused of attacking the parliament during protests in December 2008, is calling for an independent investigation on the parliament’s participation in this case.
From the series of protests following the banking collapse in 2008. Copyright: Icelandic Photo Agency.
Reykjavík District Court ruled yesterday that four of the defendants were guilty of rioting but all nine defendants were acquitted of the main charge: attacking Althingi, ruv.is reports.
Adalsteinsson reasoned that both the credibility of the prosecution and Althingi took a blow when the lawsuit was filed. “A democratic state demands that citizens are free to express their opinions without the risk of being punished. In my view, this was supposed to be a message to the public.”
Social Democrat MP Mördur Árnason agrees, requesting that Speaker of Althingi Ásta Ragnheidur Jóhannesdóttir apologize to the Reykjavík 9. He welcomed yesterday’s verdict that the people were all deemed innocent of attacking the parliament.
“Then the only thing left to do is for Althingi and its leaders to apologize to the group of nine for the lawsuit that was filed from these quarters,” Árnason told ruv.is.
A declaration from the Reykjavík 9 reads:
“The verdict announced in the District Court [yesterday] morning was for the sake of appearances. It is not consistent with the serious charges that we have faced in the past year. It is mild enough to possibly reduce the anger of people but yet tough enough to fulfill the state power’s need for punishment, cover its shame and support continued persecution of its political opponents.”
“We are positive that the solidarity that we were shown in various ways, at home and abroad, made a significant difference. We are sincerely grateful for that support but at the same time we encourage people to continue showing the state power the same kind of resistance […].”
Eight of the nine defendants signed the declaration: Sólveig Anna Jónsdóttir, Snorri Páll Jónsson, Thór Sigurdsson, Steinunn Gunnlaugsdóttir, Ragnheidur Esther Briem, Teitur Ársaelsson, Jón Benedikt Hólm and Andri Leó Lemarquis.
It has yet to be decided whether the ruling will be appealed but the Reykjavík 9 stated in interviews yesterday that this case is not nearly over.
Click here to read more about yesterday’s verdict.