Debate In Parliament Over Asylum Seeker Memo - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Debate In Parliament Over Asylum Seeker Memo

Published January 28, 2014

Photos by
Anna Andersen

Minister of the Interior Hanna Birna Kristjándóttir was on the defensive in parliament today, as numerous MPs requested an independent investigation of a leaked memo on an asylum seeker.
Vísir reports that Hanna Birna told parliament that her ministry conducted its own investigation into the leaked memo, which impugned both Nigerian asylum seeker Tony Omos and the expecting mother of his child, Evelyn Glory Joseph, with allegations which later proved untrue.
“The conclusion of this examination is that nothing within ministry documents indicates that confidential files were sent to those parties who have no legal right to them,” she said, although numerous media sources were given the memo, which all evidence indicates came from her ministry.
Members of parliament from every party – except for Hanna Birna’s own, the Independence Party – called for an independent investigation of the leak.
“I think it is very important, for the ministry and for this entire matter, that the ministry is cleansed of the dereliction that we’re discussing today,” said Bright Future MP Róbert Marshall.
Social Democrat alternate MP Mörður Árnason took matters a step further, expressing difficulty believing that the leak could have come from any other source but the ministry.
“Those who have the aforementioned memo, as I do,” he said, “Can see that this memo – in content, style, and texture – comes from, or was at least created in such a way [as to appear to come from] the ministry or its subsidiary offices.”
Hanna Birna again denied her ministry as the source, and then turned accusations against her colleagues, claiming that the discussion did not really pertain to asylum seeker issues nor how the ministry conducts business – rather, she contended, the motivation was political.
As reported, the office of the State Prosecutor has demanded the Ministry of the Interior hand over any and all documents related to the memo. When that information has arrived, the State Prosecutor will then decide whether or not a police investigation needs to be conducted.

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