An Icelandic woman was extradited to Norway last week in a case that has caused broad controversy, RÚV reports. The woman, Edda Björk Arnardóttir, was accused of taking her children from Norway to Iceland without permission last year. The boys’ father has legal custody of the children.
Last year Edda Björk flew to Norway on a private jet, picked up her three sons, and brought them back to Iceland without their father’s permission. Norwegian courts had previously ruled that the boys’ father would have custody over them. Their father is Icelandic but lives in Norway, where the boys are also legal residents.
Supporters try to stop extradition
Four months ago, Norwegian authorities demanded that Edda Björk be extradited so she can attend trial in Norway. She was arrested last Tuesday and held in Hólmsheiði prison, where a group of her friends, family, and other supporters gathered and aimed, unsuccessfully, to prevent her extradition. She is now in a high security prison in Norway.
Edda Björk denies that any attempt was made to issue her a summons, and says no one asked if she would attend the trial or not. Others have criticised Edda Björk’s treatment in the case, including lawyer and former MP Helga Vala Helgadóttir, who has asserted that Icelandic authorities need to consider the well-being of her children in their decisions.
A violation of rights, says lawyer
Edda Björk’s lawyer Hildur Sólveig Pétursdóttir called the extradition a gross violation of Edda Björk’s rights. She pointed out that Edda Björk had already submitted to a travel ban and had relinquished her passport to authorities and that it would have been possible to ensure her presence at the trial via other, less extreme, means.
Norwegian Child Welfare Services have faced heavy criticism in recent years due to its decisions. In 2019, the European Court of Human Rights ruled against the institution in a child welfare case.