Aug 03 2007

UK Greens Back British Environmental Activist Imprisoned in Iceland

31 July 2007

Twenty three year old British Saving Iceland activist Miriam R. has been arrested by the Icelandic police. She was protesting against the Icelandic government’s support for heavy industry, in particular Rio Tinto Alcan’s Straumsvik smelter in South-West Iceland. Reports suggest she is still being held by the police. (1)

Dr. Derek Wall, Green Party Principal Speaker, said: “Although Rio Tinto have been making the headlines for their recent purchase of the Canadian aluminium group Alcan for 38.1bn dollars (18.7bn pounds), it is the environmental degradation and damage that goes hand in hand with most of their projects that should be drawing the spotlight.

“Iceland is the largest remaining wilderness in Europe. Activists such as Mirian R., most of whom belong to the Saving Iceland campaign group, are protesting against plans to turn it into the heavy industry capital of Europe – with companies such as Rio Tinto reaping in the profits.

“There are no less than 8 new smelters or enlargements of existing smelters planned in Iceland. Rio Tinto, as a a world leader in finding, mining and processing the earth’s mineral resources, is involved in most of them.

“RioTinto-Alcan’s aluminium alloys are sold for a whole range of military purposes. Alcan is the main supplier for European Aerospace and Defense and Space, producer of military helicopters, military satellites, the Eurofighter Tycoon, Mirage F1, EF18 Hornet and other jets.

“Alcan further supplies Boeing a “variety of high performance aluminum-products”. Boeing produces the Apache and Chinook military helicopters used in Iraq.”

“I am appalled by what looks to be the arrest and imprisonment of Miriam R. as a political prisoner, and urge the Icelandic government to release her.

“In March this year the Left-Green party in Iceland called for an independent investigation into the conduct of the Icelandic police against Saving Iceland protesters in the the years of 2005 and 2006.

“It seems clear that these concerns were justified. ”


Notes for Editors

(1) More info on Saving Iceland and the arrest of Miriam R. can be found at

(2) Proposed smelters or enlargements include:

The new ALCOA smelter in Reydarfjordur.
The new ALCOA smelter in Husavik.
The Rio Tinto ALCAN enlargement of the existing smelter in Straumsvik.
The new Rio Tinto ALCAN smelter in Keilisnes or Thorlakshofn.
The recent Century Aluminum/Nordural smelter enlargement in Hvalfjordur.
The new Century Aluminum smelter in Helguvik.
The new Altech smelter in Thorlakshofn.
The new Norsk Hydro smelter in Thorlakshofn.
The enlargement of the Icelandic Alloys/ELKEM in Grundartangi.
The new R & D Carbon anode rod factory at Katanes in Hvalfjordur.

Green Party Press Office
020 7561 0282

Published and promoted by Jim Killock for the Green Party, both at 1a Waterlow Road, London N19 5NJ

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