From Iceland — Police Chief Broke Law In Asylum Seeker Leak Case

Police Chief Broke Law In Asylum Seeker Leak Case

Published March 1, 2015

Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
Sigtryggur Ari/DV

The Data Protection Authority (DPA) has ruled that Reykjavík Police Chief Sigríður Björk Guðjónsdóttir, during her time as Suðurnes Police Chief, broke the law when she sent former Interior Minister assistant Gísli Freyr Valdórsson confidential information on Nigerian asylum seeker Tony Omos.

Kjarninn reports that Gísli Freyr had no legal authority to ask for the information, nor did Sigríður Björk have the right to send it. The Directorate of Immigration has also been criticised in the ruling for not fully ensuring the protection of information about Tony.

At the time of the offense, which occurred in November 2013, Sigríður was working as the Suðurnes Police Chief. The following July, she was appointed Reykjavík Police Chief by former Minister of the Interior Hanna Birna Kristjánsdóttir.

For her part, Sigríður denies having broken the law, maintaining that the DPA’s ruling does not accuse her of such; only that they say she did not have the authority to send personal information about Tony Omos to a ministerial assistant. However, the actual wording of the DPA’s ruling states in part that the actions of the Suðurnes Police and the Ministry of the Interior “were in violation of the Act on Protection of Privacy”.

Minister of the Interior Ólöf Nordal, who holds the final authority over the police force, told reporters that she will not comment on the matter until after the weekend.

As reported, Gísli Freyr confessed last November to having leaked a memo to select members of the press containing false and misleading information about Tony Omos. Information in this memo was based in part on information he had received from Sigríður Björk. He was later convicted of breach of confidentiality. Shortly thereafter, Hanna Birna announced her resignation.


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