Accounts Shed New Detail on Bankastræti Club Attack

Héraðsdómur Reykjavíkur Reykjavík District Court

Five defendants in the high-profile Bankastræti Club attack in Reykjavík have submitted varying accounts to the District Court, ranging from claims of intending only to intimidate the victims to complete ignorance of the planned violence, RÚV reports. Due to the unprecedented number of defendants, the court proceedings will be held in a larger venue, the Gullhamrar banquet hall, from September 25 to October 3.

Denies all allegations

In a case drawing considerable public attention, five defendants involved in last November’s knife attack at the Bankastræti Club in downtown Reykjavík have submitted statements to the Reykjavík District Court. Each of the five defendants offers a different narrative of events leading up to the incident. While some claim they were there to confront and intimidate the victims, others assert they had no prior knowledge of the planned violence.

As noted by RÚV, among the defendants is a man in his 30s who police suspect orchestrated the attack at Bankastræti Club. In his submitted report, he denies all allegations, stating that he initially intended only to intimidate the victims outside the venue. The situation escalated when someone in the group urged everyone to enter the club.

Although he has encountered violence in his role as a doorman, the man insists he is not violent and points to his criminal record as proof. He claims “certain groups” had aimed to remove him from his job to take control of the door supervision (i.e. bouncer services) business he operates. The man also alleges he had been kidnapped and tortured three years ago.

According to the report, the man took security measures, such as placing a fire blanket at his bedroom window to protect against potential petrol bomb attacks. Despite these threats, he has never sought revenge or engaged in violent actions.

On the night in question, his aim was to deter the victims from engaging in “extremely violent behaviour,” as stated in the report. He criticises police investigators for having been bent on painting him as the mastermind of a premeditated attack, despite claims from other defendants that the attack was spontaneous.

Unaware of any weapons

Another defendant stated that the group involved in the incident was fragmented, composed of smaller friend circles that didn’t necessarily interact with one another. As noted by RÚV, court documents corroborate that individuals were participating under different circumstances.

The defendant asserts that he had no prior relationship or conflicts with the victims and minimal interaction with the other accused individuals. He had been persuaded to accompany three friends from Suðurnes to confront the victims, although the report does not specify the intended nature of this confrontation.

The defendant noted that he was only mentioned in police interviews by himself and was unaware of any weapons among the group. He contends that his mere presence at the scene, such as wearing a hat or entering the club, should not constitute grounds for punishment.

Disparate stories among the other three defendants

In his statement, the third defendant explained that he joined the group after an outing with a friend, where they drank beer and played video games. He learned from his friend, a doorman, that people were gathering downtown to intimidate some individuals. Although he followed his friend, he claimed to have stayed at the back of the group and had no intention of active participation. He asserts that he was unaware of any plans beyond scaring the victims to deter them from further threats or attacks.

According to his own account, the fourth defendant was a person of interest for the police and claims to have cooperated fully. He maintains that he was not present on the lower floor of the Bankastræti Club during the incident and was unaware of any plans other than intimidating the victims to cease their threats.

The fifth defendant claims complete ignorance of the event’s particulars, learning of the incident only through next-day media reports. He contends that he could not have posed a threat to the victim as he was not present at the scene.

Larger venue required

Since the number of defendants in the case is unprecedented, the judge had to look outside the district court for suitable accommodation for the main proceedings. The banquet hall Gullhamrar in the Grafarholt neighbourhood of Reykjavík met all the conditions and the main treatment will take place there from September 25 to October 3.

Suspect in Laugavegur Stabbing Still at Large

police station reykjavík

The man responsible for a stabbing on Laugavegur early last week remains at large. A detective with Iceland’s Central Investigative Department told Vísir that the prolonged search was “unusual.”

Victim conscious but seriously injured

Nearly ten days have passed since a man was stabbed on Laugavegur in downtown Reykjavík. The assault took place in the early hours of Tuesday, July 4, with the assailant evading capture prior to police arrival. The suspect remains at large.

The victim of the attack, although seriously injured, was conscious by the time the police arrived. The man was taken to the National University Hospital (Landspítali) and was placed in intensive care. Chief Superintendent Grímur Grímsson told reporters at the time that the man’s life was not in danger.

Prolonged Search “Unusual,” Police Say

Eiríkur Valberg, Detective Chief Inspector with Iceland’s Central Investigative Department, told Vísir today that the police were still searching for the suspect. Eiríkur was unwilling to go into further detail about the investigation on the basis of investigative interests but admitted that a suspect remaining at large for such a long time was “unusual.”

According to Eiríkur, the victim is doing well, although he could not confirm whether the man had been discharged from the hospital. Previously, Chief Superintendent Grímur Grímsson had stated that the police would publish a wanted notice for the man if the search proved unsuccessful. Eiríkur did not want to reveal if the circle had narrowed in recent days.

As previously noted by IR, this is the second stabbing occurring in downtown Reykjavík over the span of a few weeks. Two people have suffered fatal stab wounds in Iceland since the start of 2023.

Suspect in Laugavegur Stabbing Remains at Large

police lögreglan

The suspect behind a Laugavegur stabbing on Monday night remains at large. The victim of the attack sustained serious injuries, RÚV reports.

Conscious but seriously injured

At just past midnight on Monday, a man was stabbed on Laugavegur in downtown Reykjavík. The attacker had fled the scene by the time the police arrived. He remains at large.

Chief Superintendent Grímur Grímsson told RÚV that the stabbing was being investigated by the Icelandic police’s central investigative department.

The victim of the attack, although seriously injured, was conscious by the time the police arrived. The man was taken to the National University Hospital (Landspítali) and was placed in intensive care. According to Grímur, his life is not in danger.

This is the second stabbing occurring in downtown Reykjavík over the span of ten days. Two people have suffered fatal stab wounds in Iceland since the start of 2023.

Dubliner Gunman Arrested, to Be Held in Custody Until Friday

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The man suspected of having fired a gun inside the pub The Dubliner in downtown Reykjavík last weekend will be held in custody until 4 PM Friday, Vísir reports. The gunman was arrested Monday evening, following a 24-hour manhunt.

Suspect fled from the scene

Shortly after 7 PM Sunday, the capital area police were notified that a man had fired a gun inside The Dubliner bar in downtown Reykjavík. The bullet struck a wall adjacent to the bar, and the shooter fled the scene immediately.

The police responded quickly, dispatching a large unit, alongside special forces and ambulances, to the scene. Although no serious injuries were suffered, two bar patrons did require treatment: one suffered a cut on his head while the other expressed concerns about his hearing.

The police later recovered a firearm near the scene.

Following a 24-hour manhunt, the gunman – who is in his late twenties – was arrested on Monday evening. After interrogations yesterday, the man was brought before a judge shortly before 5 PM. The police requested that he be detained for a week, but the judge only agreed to hold him until 4 PM on Friday.

During a statement to the news on Monday, Grímur Grímsson, the Detective Chief Superintendent, did not rule out the possibility of a connection between this event and the knife attack that took place at the Bankastræti Club last year.

25 Indicted in Bankastræti Club Knife Attack, Youngest 19

Héraðsdómur Reykjavíkur Reykjavík District Court

Most of the 25 defendants in the Bankastræti Club case are in their twenties. The oldest is in his forties, while the youngest is 19 years old, RÚV reports. Despite the defendants having registered legal domiciles in different parts of the country, the indictment will be registered in one of the courtrooms of the District Court.

District attorney issues indictment

The district attorney issued an indictment in the Bankastræti Club case last Thursday. A group of masked men barged into the nightclub in November of last year and attacked three men. 25 are charged, one of them for attempted murder, RÚV reports. The latter has a registered legal domicile in Hafnarfjörður and will turn twenty in September. He is the only defendant being held in custody.

The man in custody is said to have stabbed three men, one of whom suffered seven stab wounds: He was stabbed twice in the right shoulder, twice on the right side of his chest, twice in the right thigh, and once in the right forearm. Another victim was stabbed once in the left side and the third once in the right forearm and once in the right thigh.

Ten are then charged with a specially dangerous assault. They are said to have attacked the three victims with kicks and punches. One member of the group is accused of hitting one of the victims repeatedly with a bat.

The other fourteen are accused of participating in the attack. They burst into the club wearing masks, were informed of the intent, and were inside the club during the attack. The prosecutor told RÚV that they thus posed a threat to the three victims and were complicit in the attack.

An unusually large group of defendants

The indictment was received by the Reykjavík District Court on Tuesday. The presiding judge will now assign the case to a judge who issues a summons that must then be served on the defendants.

Chief Judge Ingibjörg Þorsteinsdóttir told RÚV that this was “an unusually large number of defendants.” Ingibjörg was unwilling to comment further on how the proceedings would be conducted as the case had yet to be assigned to a judge; however, it is necessary to consider how best to conduct the proceedings. As noted by RÚV, there are various possibilities in the situation, but the indictment would always be registered in one of the courtrooms of the district court.

Although, according to the indictment, the 25 defendants have registered legal domiciles in different areas of the country – Eskifirður, Hvolsvelli, Sandgerði, Reykjanesbær, Akureyri, Selfoss, and Reykjavík – the summons can be served at the person’s place of residence. Most of the defendants have a place of residence in the capital area, and, as RÚV notes, it has become more and more common for lawyers to be authorised to accept summons on behalf of their clients.

Most of the defendants are in their twenties; two are 19 years old. A few are in their thirties. The oldest is 37 years old. The latter is also charged with weapons and drug offences; the police found brass knuckles, four knives, a baseball bat, an air pistol, and 0.63 grams of cocaine.

About thirty were arrested in connection with the investigation of the case and the attack had several consequences. Police preparedness was increased in the city centre for the following weekends, and the Minister of Justice declared war on organised crime. Both the American and British embassies also asked tourists from these two respective countries to show caution during a night out on the town.

Dismissed for Distributing Video of Stabbing

police station reykjavík

The individual responsible for distributing video footage of the recent knife attacks in a downtown Reykjavík nightclub has been relieved from their post, reports RÚV.

Ólafur Þór Hauksson, district prosecutor, confirmed this in a statement to RÚV, and stated that it is not believed the employee in question intended for the video to be distributed so widely. However, since its release one week ago, the video has been shared extensively across social media.

The video in question showed footage from the security cameras in the downtown Reykjavík club as a group of masked men entered the building and stabbed three individuals.

Read more: 24 People Connected to Knife Attack Released from Police Custody

At the time of the leak, there was concern that the leak of the video could potentially hurt the investigation of the case.

Now, Reykjavík police have concluded their investigation of the matter and consider the case closed.

After the leak, police officer Grímur Grímsson stated that “the video appears to have been recorded with a phone from the computer screen, and it appears to be a police workstation. I think we can say that this has never happened before, that information on an ongoing investigation has been leaked in this way.”

Read more: Heightened Police Presence Over Weekend

Presumably, the police were able to trace the workstation back to the relevant employee and conclude the investigation.

Several people are reported to have been questioned on the video and its distribution.

No further information on the responsible individual has been provided, except that they were an employee of the police force. As of Friday, their employment is reported to have been terminated.

 

Twenty-Four People Connected to Downtown Knife Attack Released from Custody

police station Hlemmur

Police have released twenty-four people who were being held in connection with the knife attack in downtown Reykjavík last weekend, RÚV reports. Six individuals remain in custody.

A knife attack at the Bankastræti Club nightclub in Reykjavík last weekend left three young men hospitalised, following which, there was a spate of retaliatory crime against the suspects’ families. Petrol bombs were thrown into family members’ homes, windows were broken, and the suspects’ families were also subjected to harassment. Three people have now been arrested for throwing the petrol and smoke bombs.

See Also: Heightened Police Presence in Reykjavík This Weekend

DS Margeir Sveinsson noted that despite the fact that police have released two dozen people connected with the incident, these individuals are still legally considered defendants in the case. “But there’s no need or reason to keep them in custody any longer,” he said. “We’ve managed to determine what happened there and what everyone’s part was. Next step is to process all the data we have, that is, phone data etc. to get a handle on the lead-up [to the event]. But we don’t need to keep people in jail to do that.”

There was initially some fear that the wave of retaliatory crimes would continue, but there was no additional incident on Thursday night, which Margeir said he hoped was a good sign.

“Let’s hope that people will come to their senses and quit this nonsense and that things will calm down a bit.”

Heightened Police Presence in Reykjavík This Weekend

police lögreglan

Partygoers in downtown Reykjavík this weekend can expect an increased presence among police authorities. The Capital Area’s Assistant Chief of Police has told RÚV that the police will “be ready” in the event of retaliatory violence following last weekend’s knife attack.

Spate of violence

Following mass arrests in wake of a knife attack at the Bankastræti Club nightclub in Reykjavík last weekend, which left three young men hospitalised, petrol bombs were thrown into houses, windows broken, and the suspects’ families were subjected to harassment. There were also posts on social media, encouraging retaliation for the attacks. The American and British embassies in Iceland subsequently issued travel advisories to tourists, warning them to avoid large crowds downtown this weekend.

Addressing these issues on the radio programme Morgunútvarpið this morning, Ásgeir Þór Ásgeirsson, Assistant Chief of Police for the Capital Area Police, stated that the police would command a much greater presence in downtown Reykjavík this weekend, in the event that further acts of violence were to be perpetrated.

“As far as we’ve gathered, there were, and are, threats of violence this weekend – and the operations of certain Reykjavík restaurants are expected to be disturbed,” Ásgeir stated. “We’re going to protect our city this weekend – as we’ve always done.”

When asked if individuals connected to the gang violence last weekend were expected to perpetrate further violence, Ásgeir replied that he hoped not. “But law enforcement isn’t predicated on hope. We have to be ready when we say that we’ll be ready and we’ll be ready this weekend.”

Ásgeir was unwilling to offer details on the exact meaning of “an increased presence” among police authorities but stated that they would mobilise more equipment and more officers capable of handling “difficult assignments.” This heightened police presence would not be lost on anyone.

“It’s absolutely clear that the people will feel our presence. We hope that the people involved in these altercations have come to their senses and won’t be dragging their disputes to downtown Reykjavík. I think that that’s something all of us, collectively, have been aiming towards,” Ásgeir stated.