District Prosecutor Appeals Verdict in Hafnarfjörður Stabbing Case

Judge's gavel

The District Prosecutor is appealing the sentences of three young men involved in a fatal stabbing in Hafnarfjörður; a fourth individual, who recorded the incident, will not face an appeal on her suspended sentence, RÚV reports.

Fatal stabbing in front of Fjarðarkaup

In April of this year, four individuals, three of them under 18, were detained by the Capital Area Police following the death of a 27-year-old man in front of the Fjarðarkaup grocery store in Hafnarfjörður. The man had been stabbed multiple times.

All of the individuals were later sentenced to prison. The eldest of the four, a 19-year-old, was sentenced to 10 years in prison. The District Court ruled that he had not shown a deliberate intention to kill the victim. The other two boys, both under the age of 18, received two-year sentences. The fourth individual, a girl who recorded the attack on video, received a twelve-month suspended sentence.

As reported by RÚV, the District Prosecutor has decided to appeal to Landsréttur (i.e. the Court of Appeals) the verdict of the Reykjanes District Court against three young men. This was confirmed by Þorgils Þorgilsson, the defence attorney for one of them. According to RÚV, the verdict for the young woman who recorded the attack on video will not be appealed.

Bankastræti Hearing Begins in Banquet Hall

Judge's gavel

A hearing involving 25 defendants, most in their twenties, began yesterday in Reykjavík, though not in a traditional courtroom. As the District Court of Reykjavík did not have a courtroom large enough to accommodate the number of people involved in the case, an alternative venue needed to be found. The court eventually settled on a banquet hall in the suburban neighbourhood of Grafarvogur, which was then adapted to the purposes of the hearing, though not without issues.

25 attackers, three victims

The hearing centres on a knife attack at Bankastræti Club in downtown Reykjavík in November 2022 when a group of masked men barged into the nightclub in November of last year and attacked three men. Twenty-five people have been charged in the case: one for attempted murder, ten for “specially dangerous assault,” and the other fourteen for participating in the attack. The three victims sustained stab wounds and other injuries.

Banquet hall turned courtroom

“I don’t remember that there have been so many defendants and defence attorneys and other witnesses gathered in one place in a court case in Iceland,” defence attorney Ómar R. Valdimarsson told RÚV reporters at the banquet hall yesterday.

“We know this hall well because we’ve come here for confirmation parties and wedding parties. So it’s a bit of a different atmosphere,” stated Jón Þór Ólason, a defence attorney for one of the defendants.

Coffee shortage ruffles lawyers

Attorneys have criticised the unusual location and its constraints. Among other things, lawyers complained that there was no coffee available at the location. Some headed to a nearby KFC to satisfy their caffeine cravings while others resorted to purchasing energy drinks from a shop at the location. After a recess, Judge Sigríður Hjaltested who is overseeing the hearing stated that the coffee issue would hopefully be resolved by the following day.

Reykjavík District Court Judge Ingibjörg Þorsteinsdóttir stated the banquet hall was chosen for the hearing as it “turned out to be the room that would be the simplest to convert into a courtroom and for the least amount of money, although it still costs a lot.”

At the beginning of yesterday’s session, Judge Sigríður Hjaltested announced that the media would not be permitted to report on the contents of the hearing just yet, but the ban would probably be lifted on Thursday.

Trial in Ólafsfjörður Murder Case Scheduled for Next Week

Metropolitan Police

A man accused of homicide in Ólafsfjörður last year is said to have stabbed the deceased twice in the left side, resulting in fatal bleeding, RÚV reports. The case is scheduled for trial next week.

Stabbed the man twice

A man in his thirties has been charged with the murder of a man in Ólafsfjörður in North Iceland last year. The defendant reportedly stabbed the victim twice in the left side, causing him to bleed to death, RÚV reports.

The prosecutor is seeking for the accused, 37, to be sentenced and to cover all legal costs. Additionally, there are two separate civil claims against him: one demanding compensation totalling ISK 12 million [$88,000 / €83,000] plus interest, and the other seeking damages amounting to just under ISK 11 million [$81,000 / €76,000] plus interest, due to the loss of the provider. The deceased was 46 years old.

Unable to rule out self defence

The man died from stab wounds in his home in Ólafsfjörður on the eve of Monday, October 3, Last Year. Originally, three individuals were detained in custody, but two were soon released: the wife of the deceased and the homeowner. The accused claimed that the deceased initiated the confrontation, and the evidence in the case supported this, according to the custody order.

In the police incident report, it is noted that the deceased is believed to have attacked the accused with a knife. According to the defendant, he tried to wrestle the knife away from the deceased, who then fell onto the knife and was fatally wounded. Among other details, the custody decision highlighted that it could not be ruled out that provisions of the Penal Code on self-defence were applicable. Nevertheless, the accused’s detention was extended, in part due to suspicions of his involvement in other crimes.

He was released from prison in March 2022 on parole, with an unplanned remaining sentence of 220 days. According to the detention order, he had at least six encounters with the police since then.

The accused was held in custody for just over a month, until November 7. He is the only one being prosecuted in the case, which is set for trial in the District Court of Northeast Iceland on Tuesday, September 26.

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.

Man Recovering After Stabbing in Downtown Reykjavík

police lögreglan

A man in his twenties was stabbed with a knife in downtown Reykjavík yesterday evening behind a building on Austurvöllur square. The man was transported to the National Hospital where he underwent surgery and his condition is “as may be expected,” according to a press release from the capital area police department.

Police were tipped off on the incident between 10:00 and 11:00 PM last night. They went to the scene and made four arrests in relation to the case. Three were released from custody shortly afterwards. The police states that the fourth is “of a young age,” and “housed in the appropriate facilities.” Vísir reported that the injured man had run into Pósthús food hall after the incident, where he received first aid treatment, and walked out to the ambulance himself.

Media coverage of several violent incidents in Iceland this year has many in the public concerned that the rate of violent crime is increasing in the country. However, statistics show that Iceland’s homicide rate has in fact decreased per capita. Many recent crimes have involved young, Icelandic males, however, which Professor of Criminology Helgi Gunnlaugsson believes should be studied. “It’s important to understand what’s going on in their minds, what’s happening in their environment so that they think this is how you solve conflicts or arguments,” he said. “It’s important to look at the ideology. These young Icelandic males think carrying these weapons around is important and they are prepared to use them. We need to study what’s happening with young males that are on the margins of society,” he told Iceland Review last year.

Co-Tenant Arrested in Hafnarfjörður Murder Case

The man found dead in an industrial area in Hafnarfjörður on Saturday morning is believed to have died from stab wounds, RÚV reports. The police have arrested the man’s co-tenant on suspicion of murder.

Exact circumstances remain unclear

A man discovered unconscious in an industrial area in Hafnarfjörður on Saturday morning is believed to have died from stab wounds, according to authorities. The man’s co-tenant has been taken into police custody on suspicion of murder. This incident marks the third homicide in Iceland in two months.

“We are investigating a suspected homicide,” Grímur Grímsson, Chief Superintendent of the Icelandic Police’s central investigative department, told RÚV yesterday. While he declined to disclose specific details, he clarified the ongoing nature of the case.

“At this point, I’m not prepared to go into too much detail in this investigation,” Grímur told RÚV. “Given the recent occurrence, it is not feasible to delve deeper into it.” RÚV sources indicate that the attack occurred inside the victim’s bedroom early on Saturday morning, following which he managed to exit the residence before succumbing to his injuries.

“While the exact circumstances remain uncertain, the deceased exhibited injuries consistent with stab wounds, leading us to work on the assumption that he died as a result of such an injury,” Grímur stated when addressing concerns about alternative causes of death.

An autopsy is expected to determine the definitive cause of the man’s death.

A third party called the police

The deceased was in his forties and the suspect about forty years old, according to the police. Both hail from Poland. The men knew each other and shared a residence. According to sources, the suspect reportedly confided in a third party about the attack, leading to a subsequent call to the police. As a result, two individuals were apprehended. “We detained two men, one at the scene and the other a short distance away,” Grímur remarked to RÚV.

The latter individual was released on Saturday after it became evident that he had no involvement in the case, despite being present at the scene. The suspect, however, has been remanded in custody for five days.

This incident marks the third homicide of the year and the third within the past two months.

When asked about the significance of these occurrences, the police downplayed any interpretation, stating: “Currently, there is no specific implication. Historically, Iceland has experienced an average of 1.7 to 1.8 homicide cases per year. Sometimes these incidents cluster together, followed by periods of relative calm. Hence, we do not attribute any particular meaning to this pattern at present.”

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.

 

Minister of Justice to Declare War on Organised Crime

Jón Gunnarsson Alþingi

Minister of Justice Jón Gunnarsson has announced his intention to wage war against organised crime following the knife attacks in a Reykjavík club last week, which have been taken as signs of gang warfare.

On Thursday night, November 17, a group of masked and armed men stormed a Reykjavík nightclub, stabbing three men, who were since transported to the ER.

Of the nearly 30 men involved in the attack, already some 14 have been apprehended by the police. Two are suspected to have fled the country, with the police now searching for the remaining suspects.

Read more: Petrol Bombs and Threats of Retaliation Following Knife Attack

According to Minister Jón Gunnarsson, the incident reveals a problem with organised crime in a nation generally upheld for its security.

In response to the minister’s call for a “war on crime,” efforts are now being prepared to attack the root causes of organised criminality in Iceland.

The Minister has also expressed his desire to strengthen police powers, with what Jón Gunnarsson calls “preventative warrants,” allowing for “proactive investigation.” Such measures have been controversial in Alþingi, but Jón Gunnarsson has stated that his proposals would be “harmless.”

Such warrants would allow police to monitor individuals associated with known criminals and criminal activity, without themselves being found guilty of any crime.

The proposed measures would also add tasers to the police arsenal. Currently, Icelandic police officers only carry batons and pepper spray in the field.

In a statement to Vísir, the Minister said: “The steps we take may prove to be controversial, I have no doubt about that. Both of these new authorisations, for preventative warrants and weapons for the police, may be controversial, but we have to do it.”

 

Petrol Bombs and Threats of Retaliation Following Knife Attack in Downtown Club

police lögreglan

Reykjavík and capital-area police are investigating a series of crimes believed to be connected to the knife attack that occurred at Bankastræti Club in downtown Reykjavík on Thursday night. RÚV reports that in the wake of the attack, which left three young men hospitalized, petrol bombs have been thrown into houses, windows broken, and suspects’ families subjected to harassment. There have also been posts on social media, encouraging retaliation for the attacks. Police believe that the incidents possibly herald the beginnings of a gang war, although this but one possible explanation.

Police still searching for over ten suspects; two have fled the country

A group of almost thirty people, all dressed in dark clothing and masks, barged into Bankastræti Club on Thursday night and attacked three men, all of whom were in their twenties, stabbing them repeatedly before fleeing the scene. The stabbing victims have since posted on social media, seemingly unruffled by the incident, and two of them were also interviewed on FM957 on Saturday. In the interview, they said that one of them had been stabbed a total of seven times, but was feeling pretty good, all things considered, or “like a king,” as he put it.

As of Saturday, fourteen of those involved in the attack had been arrested and nine had been sentenced to two weeks in police custody. Police were still searching for over ten of the remaining suspects, although their identities were believed to be known. Two suspects have fled the country.

Over the weekend, police called for anyone involved in the incident to come forward, but only one person did. A search of suspects’ phone data is also underway, but police say this will be an extensive and intensive process.

Stress on prison system

The scope of the incident and the number of people remanded into custody is already straining the local prison system’s capacity, as it is unusual for so many people to be held at once. Halldór Valur Pálsson, director of the Icelandic prison system, says that while prison officials in no way anticipated an incident of this scope and with this many detainees, Icelandic prisons still have enough capacity to deal with the situation at present. But things could become serious, he says, if a gang war is, in fact, underway.

“It absolutely threatens the safety of the staff and other prisoners as well, if this kind of conflict is going on,” he said. “If there are gang conflicts happening out in society, they also find their ways into the prisons in the end.”

The capacity issue is not just a question of being able to hold suspects while the police investigate, however. It also has a knock-on effect for those waiting to serve a prison sentence. New measures have been introduced in recent years that allow convicted individuals to serve their sentences outside of prison walls, for instance by means of electronic surveillance or community service. But there is still a waiting list for those who are actually required to serve their sentences in prison. These individuals must wait to serve their sentences until a facility has room for them. There are currently 317 individuals waiting to serve their prison sentences.

Stabbing may be linked to motorcycle fire

Police say that the investigation is progressing well, considering its scope. The inciting incident has yet to be confirmed, but it’s possible that the stabbings were related to two motorcycles that were set on fire in Álftamýri on the east side of Reykjavík last Wednesday night.