From Iceland — Trial Of Reykjavík Nine Continues: Yesterday's Trial Reaches Surreal Proportions, Prime Minister Calls It "Sad"

Trial Of Reykjavík Nine Continues: Yesterday’s Trial Reaches Surreal Proportions, Prime Minister Calls It “Sad”

Published January 19, 2011

Now in its second day, the trial of the so-called Reykjavík Nine had a bizarre first day, with evidence botched and witness testimony directly contradicting security footage.
Nine protesters stand accused of physically attacking parliament security and attempting to force their way into the building in December 2008. On the first day of the trial yesterday, head of parliament security Guðlaugur Ágústsson revealed that he had only shown police four minutes of the security footage that day – the part showing a scuffle between protesters and security – and that the rest of the footage from the incident had been destroyed. He told the court that he could not remember why he only took out those four specific minutes and allowed the rest of the footage to be recorded over.
News website Pressan reported that parliament security guards who showed up to provide testimony were wearing their earpieces the entire time, even while on the stand. Objections were raised that this was possibly a breach of court regulations.
Vísir reports that one such security guard who testified, Maria Dites de Jesus, initially told police on the day of the incident that she had been pushed by one of the protesters, and struck a radiator. When police showed her footage some time later, she said at the time that she saw the incident in another light. However, yesterday on trial, she repeated her allegation that she had been pushed.
She was then showed the video of the incident again, which showed the protester she had accused of pushing her in a tangle with a different security guard. Attorney Brynjar Níelsson asked her if she experienced the incident as it was shown on the tape, and she responded, “I was pushed.”
Word choice was apparently another issue, as testifying members of security kept using the phrase “they forced their way in”, referring to the protesters. The defence pointed out that the video shows rather that the protesters were allowed in, and then walked calmly up the stairs.
Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir, speaking to parliament, said that the fact that this is the one trial going on that is even remotely connected to the economic collapse was “sad”, adding, “Violence should never be tolerated but the actions of these [nine protesters] were not what was threatening the nation at the time.”
Liveblog from the trial (in English)
Reykjavík Nine Trial: Evidence Destroyed
Trial Of Reykjavík Nine Begins Today

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