Interior Minister Threatened Police, Considering Resigning

Interior Minister Threatened Police, Considering Resigning

Published August 26, 2014

Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
Kaisu Nevasalmi

Interior Minister Hanna Birna Kristjánsdóttir reportedly threatened the former police commissioner with an investigation of her own, and her assistants tried to influence his statements to the press. This and more has come to light in a new letter from the Parliamentary Ombudsman.

Parliamentary Ombudsman Tryggvi Gunnarsson today published another letter to Hanna Birna, asking for more information in light of her answers to his previous letter and his conversations with former Commissioner of the Capital Area Police Stefán Eiríksson.

In the course of the Ombudsman’s interview with Stefán, the former commissioner says that Hanna Birna had, on many occasions, “questioned the scope of the investigations [of her ministry], how far we were going, that we were taking the computer of her assistant, getting information about phone records, and many other things,” adding that Hanna Birna told him directly, “We will of course let you have everything. You will have access to all of it, but aren’t you going too far in all this?”

Hanna Birna also reportedly told Stefán that “it was completely clear in her mind that there would need to be an investigation of the investigations from the police and the State Prosecutor.”

The Minister’s assistants also contacted Stefán, reportedly urging him to issue a statement that categorically denied reporting that he was pressured into resigning from his post. Stefán refused, saying that he does not issue press statements, but that “I am in the phone book, and my phone is open” to members of the press to contact him. Stefán has, in fact, repeatedly denied he was ever pressured into resigning.

For her part, Hanna Birna told reporters that “I have nothing to hide about my communications with the Police Commissioner, and I regret that the Ombudsman would, with this framing, try to set up an unnatural picture of our natural communications and cooperation.” Hanna Birna added that she will soon “take a personal decision on this with those closest to me whether I have a future in politics, or whether the fight for a better society would be better served outside the system rather than within it.”

In the meantime, RÚV reports that Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson has submitted a formal proposal to the President that he take over the police and judicial aspects of the Interior Ministry. The President has yet to respond.

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