The third day of the trial of the Reykjavík Nine has once again proven itself the news event of the week, as attorneys on both sides of the trial made their arguments for the court.
Vísir reports that prosecuting attorney Lára V. Júlíusdóttir compared the nine protesters accused of having forced their way into parliament in December 2008 to a Polish criminal gang.
“The parliament is not just a house downtown,” she said in part. “The government convenes there and makes laws. This is why the institution is given special constitutional protection that one must respect parliament for the institution that it is.”
She contended that the nine accused had planned the alleged attack ahead of time, meeting at the restaurant Iðnó to discuss how they were going to carry out the plan to use force to get into the parliamentary building.
She then compared the nine accused to the so-called Keilufells Case, wherein a group of Poles forced their way into a private home and, armed with a variety of weapons including axes, knives and hammers, severely injured the owner of the house.
Lára was followed by attorney Ragnar Aðalsteinsson, who is defending four of the accused nine.
“It surprised me, when I listened to the prosecution, just how little objectivity there was,” he said in part.
Ragnar argued that the case has political roots, adding that the entire matter revolves around the question of whether or not citizens may, in a peaceful manner, let their grievances be known. He reminded the court of the situation in society at the time – the banks collapsed, thousands protesting in front of parliament, and in fact on the same day that the nine were arrested, pepper spray had been used by the police against a crowd of protesters in front of the station at Hlemmur.
He emphasised that protesting is a democratic right. He concluded that the general public has a right to be in the parliament gallery, and also raised questions as to why these nine had been arrested, and not the dozens of others who had been at the same place at the same time.
“The parliamentary gallery is the one place in the country where the people have a constitutionally protected right to be present,” he said in part. “My clients were not joking when they wanted to use their right to make their opinions known. It is impossible to figure out why these nine were singled out of the 30 who were also present. In the end, the prosecution has kept this a secret.”
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Liveblog from the trial (in English)