MFÍK Urges Investigation Of Iceland's Role In CIA Torture - The Reykjavik Grapevine

MFÍK Urges Investigation Of Iceland’s Role In CIA Torture

Published December 21, 2014

"Being an accomplice to torture is a war crime," says MFÍK Chair Þórhildur Sunna Ævarsdóttir

Haukur Már Helgason
Photo by
Stöð 2 screenshot

"Being an accomplice to torture is a war crime," says MFÍK Chair Þórhildur Sunna Ævarsdóttir

Þórhildur Sunna Ævarsdóttir, Chair of the Women’s Association for Peace and Culture (MFÍK), says it is urgent to thoroughly investigate whether Iceland in any way supported the CIA’s transportation of prisoners for torture. If that turns out to be the case, Icelanders are accomplices to war crimes. “These crimes do not become void. Being an accomplice to torture is a war crime,” she stated, interviewed by Stöð 2 this Saturday.

Iceland’s involvement

On December 12, Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson announced that the Foreign Ministry had commenced an investigation into any potential “abuse” of Icelandic facilities related to the CIA’s torture program, as revealed in the US Senate’s partly disclosed report.

As reported, Iceland permitted use of its airspace and airports for flights associated with the CIA extraordinary rendition program between 2001 and 2005. During that time, CIA’s planes landed in the country at least 67 times, according to the Open Society Foundation’s 2013 report, Globalizing Torture.

Earlier whitewashing

Þórhildur Sunna Ævarsdóttir, MFÍK’s Chair says that an investigation conducted during Ingibjörg Sólrún Gísladóttir’s term as Foreign Minister, seems to have been mere whitewashing. Internal documents of the US Embassy, leaked by Wikileaks, described Ingibjörg Sólrún’s response to other parties’ demands of an independent inquiry as a “flat dismissal”.

“What remains sorely missing”, says Þórhildur Sunna, “is an investigation as to whether anyone was involved in permitting these airplanes to land here in Iceland. And whether anything out of the ordinary was taking place in these flights.” She also says that it seems that US authorities have not been asked, since 2005, whether the CIA transported prisoners through Iceland’s airspace.

On MFÍK

The Women’s Association for Peace and Culture (MFÍK) was founded in Reykjavík in 1951. It is a member association of the Women’s International Democratic Federation, which was founded in Paris in 1945.

Þórhildur Sunna Ævarsdóttir studied law, with emphasis on international human rights legislation.

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