From Iceland — Inter-Parliamentary Union To Review Case Against Birgitta Jónsdóttir

Inter-Parliamentary Union To Review Case Against Birgitta Jónsdóttir

Published November 14, 2011

The Human Rights Committee of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) has agreed to review the current injunction the US Department of Justice has launched against Icelandic MP Birgitta Jónsdóttir.
The case surrounds her and two other former Wikileaks volunteers. Last January, the US Department of Justice told Twitter to give them access to her account, in order to read her private messages. Birgitta fought the case, with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). Last March, a federal magistrate ruled in the US government’s favour, which was confirmed again by federal court just days ago.
While Birgitta considers appealing the matter to the US Supreme Court, the IPU has ruled unanimously to examine her case.
The ruling argues in part that the injunction represents a possible serious breach of the right to privacy, saying in part:

… freedom of expression goes to the heart of democracy and is essential to members of parliament; without the ability to express their opinions freely, members of parliament cannot represent the people who have elected them; if they cannot receive and exchange information freely without fear of interference they cannot legislate and hold the government to account … the national and international legal framework concerning the use of electronic media, including social media, does not appear to provide sufficient guarantees to ensure respect for freedom of expression, access to information and the right to privacy; the guarantees protecting freedom of expression and privacy in the“offline world” seem not to operate in the “online world”

The ruling recommends that the Secretary General communicate its concerns in this case to the parliamentary authorities in Iceland and in the US.

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