The trial of former Prime Minister of Iceland Geir H. Haarde begins in earnest today and, as to be expected, things are off to a dramatic start.
Last September, parliament voted in favour of charging Haarde with negligence and mismanagement for his part in the 2008 banking collapse. Haarde has continually professed his innocence, saying that few politicians criticised the banking system when things were going well, and that the charges against him are nothing more than “political persecution”.
Vísir reports that Haarde’s defense team has already spent about 9 million ISK on the trial, just during the processing period alone.
If Haarde was worried that the entire nation was turning against him, those worries appear to be put to rest, as he quipped at a press conference held yesterday that he had been sent flowers from some of his supporters. He counts among these supporters numerous conservative figures, but there has also opened a website supporting him, collecting signatures (already numbering over 1,200) and contending that the trial is overblown persecution.
Geir continues to say he is innocent of the charges against him. “The commencement [of the trial] means that the first political trial in the history of Iceland is about to begin,” he said.