Parliament Committee Calls Ban on Wikileaks "Harsh Operation on Freedom of Expression"

10.12.2010
Words by Paul Nikolov
The parliamentary general committee (allsherjanefnd) met today to discuss the ban that Visa and Mastercard have placed on card-holders who wish to donate to Wikileaks, and have raised the possibility of taking away their operating licences.

Numerous interested parties met with the committee today, among them electronic payment companies Valitor and Borgun, both of whom work with Visa and Mastercard. Also in attendance were The Consumer's Alliance, Amnesty International and, via conference call, Wikileaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson.

Róbert Marshall, the chairman of the committee, told mbl.is, "People wanted to know on what legal grounds the ban was taken, but no one could answer it. They said this decision was taken by foreign sources." Valitor and Borgun have emphasized that the matter is not in their hands.

The committee has asked for more information from these companies, however, to prove that there are legal grounds for banning cardholders from donating money to an organisation such as Wikileaks. Amnesty International said that they were very concerned at the precedent the ban sets with regards to human rights.

Róbert said that it was the opinion of the members of parliament on the committee that the operating licences of Visa and Mastercard in Iceland should be seriously reviewed.

As reported, Datacell - a company which had been serving as a proxy for payments to Wikileaks - is already planning to sue Visa. Kristinn said that he has no doubts Wikileaks will themselves sue Visa, and Mastercard as well.

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