From Iceland — Interior Minister Responsible, Says International Law Expert

Interior Minister Responsible, Says International Law Expert

Published November 22, 2013

Minister of the Interior Hanna Birna Kristjánsdóttir bears ultimate responsibility for misinformation leaked from her ministry to the press, an expert on international law contends.
As reported, Nigerian asylum seeker Tony Omos is facing deportation, and is currently in hiding from the police. Earlier this week, “unofficial ministry documents” given to members of the press stated that Tony was suspected of being involved in human trafficking and is not the father of the child being carried by his girlfriend, Evelyn Glory Joseph.
Not only did these accusations prove untrue – the “unofficial ministry documents” do not exist within ministry files. An assistant to the minister, Gísli Freyr Valdórsson, speculated that a ministry employee may have created the documents themselves, later clarifying that he did not intend to impugn the ministry staff.
While the minister has so far refused to comment on the leak within her ministry, Jórunn Edda Helgadóttir, who has a master’s in international law from SOAS University of London, told DV that Hanna Birna bears responsibility for the leak.
“The fact is, if the employee of an institution breaks the law or violates the rights of people in the course of their work, it is the institution that has broken the law or violated rights,” she said in part. She added that she finds it strange that the ministry has yet to issue a statement correcting the misinformation that other media outlets have repeated about Tony and Evelyn.
Jórunn believes furthermore that the Directorate of Immigration is obsolete, saying, “I think it’s become obvious that the Directorate of Immigration is and is becoming obsolete. The institution and the ideas it’s built on are out of touch with the times, and the time has come to close it down. In its place, one could have an institution that serves and helps foreigners, as opposed to keeping watch over them [like the directorate].”
By Icelandic law, the misuse of personal information on an individual is punishable by a sentence of up to three years in prison.

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