Jul 28 2007

State Harassment of Saving Iceland Activists

Gi' uncle a kiss.... Police harrassmentUpdated July 28 July

The Icelandic Police have stepped up their repression of Saving Iceland activists whilst their 2007 Summer protest camp finishes. [1] One activist has been refused the right to appeal her prison sentence and is currently in solitary confinement. Fifteen have had their passports stolen by the Police, who refuse to give any firm reasons as to why or when they will be returned. Five people were arrested for putting up political street art, including the owner of the building that was to be painted. Nine police vehicles turned up at a party in which many SI activists were attending and entered the building without warrant.

After being arrested in the vicinity of the Rio Tinto-Alcan aluminium smelter in Straumsvik on the 24th of July [2], one activist had her sentence from the 2006 protest camp laid on her. Instead she was given the choice to either immediately pay 100,000 ISK or serve eight days in prison. She was refused her right to appeal, which would have given her a month to choose her options. She chose to go to prison instead of paying her fine. Now she is in Hegningarhusid, an all male prison, and therefore in solitary confinement.

Saving Iceland demands that:
*The activist currently in prison is either moved to a womens prison with a full apology or released immediately for lack of state resources.
*All stolen passports must be released immediately, according to international law.
*An end to the criminalisation and state harassment of environmental activists.

“Why, if there were no spaces in a women’s prison, and if she should have been given her time of appeal, has she been rushed off into a mens prison, leaving her isolated and in solitary confinement? This is illegal and feels like a political decision designed to unfairly treat political activists.” says Saving Iceland’s Snorri Páll Jónsson Úlfhildarson.

Fifteen utlendigar (foreign) activists have had their passports siezed by the Reykjavik Police Dep. After many contradictory statements, Geir Jon, Head of Police, has stated that all passports will be sent to the Keflavik or Seydisfjordur police departments who will return the passports upon the activists departure. We wonder whether this will be the case, or whether activists are to be kept in the country illegally until the time of their trial.

“Passports are the property of the state that issues them, not the Icelandic states to do with as they please. If someone whose identification has been seized by the police needs urgent medical attention or seeks a residents permit in Iceland, for example, how are they to do this without their id?” says Úlfhildarson

Four political street artists were about to apply paint to a wall in Laugavegur, Reykjavik, at 4am on the 28th of July, when they were surrounded by nine special forces police. Whilst the owner of the wall that was to be painted made it clear that he gave full permission to the artists, the police decided to arrest not only the artists, but the owner of the house too! In total, five were arrested, photographed, imprisoned for up to seven hours and finally released without charge.

Police_selt_house_party_290707

How many police does it take to ask for noise to be turned down??????????????
Note that this image has been brightened to make its content visible.?

On the same night a house party in Seltjarnarness which was attended by Saving Iceland activists was surrounded by police. Over twenty policemen in nine cars and vans turned up to tell the partiers to turn their music down. Also, two of the policemen were relatives of the people inside, one having been brought all the way from Hafnarfjordur. The police entered a wing of the house which was unconnected to the party without a warrant.

Saving Iceland demands that:
*The activist currently in prison is either moved to a womens prison with a full apology or released immediately for lack of state resources.
*All stolen passports must be released immediately, according to international law.
*An end to the criminalisation and state harassment of environmental activists.

[1] The 2007 protest camp closed on 27 July, see /?p=891
[2] Around twenty activists blocked the Hafnafjordur plant for one and a half hours on the 24th of July, see /?p=882

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