Borrowed Crime

true crime iceland

The sensationalisation of tragedy In 2018, the New York Times published an essay by 17-year-old Rachel Chestnut, one of the winners of the magazine’s student editorial contest. Her essay – entitled Is True Crime as Entertainment Morally Defensible? – noted that “real life acts of violence” had long been masqueraded before the public, whether as […]

This content is only visible under subscription. Subscribe here or log in.

Continue reading

Two Men Held in Custody for Murder in Reykjavík

police car

Two men are being held in police custody for their suspected involvement in a murder in Reykjavík.

According to the initial police report and Morgunblaðið, a woman was found dead in her car Saturday morning in the 105 district of Reykjavík, near Laugardalur. It is not clear how long the woman had been dead in her car until the case was reported, but this question is now under investigation by Reykjavík police.

The two men held in custody are in their forties and are said to have known the victim.

Because the investigation is still in its initial stage, the police have not provided more details, given the sensitive nature of personal information in such cases.

Read more: Two Women, One Man in Custody Following Ólafsfjörður Homicide

The murder is notable as the fourth murder so far this year in Iceland.

Iceland, often cited as one of the safest nations in the world, generally has a low murder rate. This year appears to some as an outlier, with already four murders before year’s end.

However, as Icelandic criminologist Dr. Margrét Valdimarsdóttir has noted, such statistics can be somewhat misleading in the case of Iceland. The mean murder incidence between 2001 and 2020 in Iceland sat around two a year. With such small-scale numbers, statistical outliers can also be given too much weight, with an increase of two to four murders representing a 100% increase in murders.

Icelandic society has also grown rapidly in recent years, meaning an increase in murders is also inevitable.

More details will be reported on the case as it develops.




Court Denies Erla’s Request for Retrial

Guðmundur og Geirfinnur case Supreme court

In a decision handed down September 14, Erla Bolladóttir’s request for a retrial was denied. The court cited a lack of new developments in the case, and ordered Erla to pay some ISK 3 million in fees.

Convicted in 1980 in the notorious Guðmundur and Geirfinnur case, Erla has since fought for a retrial. Now, with her appeal rejected, she suggested at a press conference held Wednesday, September 21, that she may appeal to the European Court of Human Rights.

Read more: States Opposes Compensation in Guðmundur and Geirfinnur Case

“The condition for applying to the Human Rights Court is that you have exhausted all domestic means,” Erla said at the press conference. “This judgment of the court is the final word in this country, so it is definitely something I will consider.”

Erla also stated that she intended to pursue her fight for justice, saying that she was recently diagnosed with cancer: “Does anyone think I’m going to spend my last days lying to the world about this injustice?”

Read more: Compensation Awarded in Guðmundur and Geirfinnur Case

The Guðmundur and Geirfinnur case is one of the most controversial and notorious criminal cases in Iceland’s modern history, revolving around the disappearance of two young men, Guðmundur and Geirfinnur, in 1974. Six individuals were ultimately convicted in connection to the case, but the extreme interrogation measures taken by the police, including sleep deprivation, drugs, and water torture, have caused many to question the legitimacy of the confessions. The convicts have previously stated that they signed the confessions in order to put an end to their solitary confinements, which, in Erla’s case, was for 242 days.

The case has been described as one of the most serious miscarriages of justice in Europe by foreign media.

In 2018, a retrial of the case led to five acquittals, though this notably did not apply to Erla who was also charged with perjury in the case.

At the time of writing, around 1,100 have signed a petition in support of Erla’s retrial.