The Supreme Court ruled that they would postpone sentencing the “Lava Friends” protesters who were arrested for trying to stop construction through the Gálgahraun lava field in 2013.
RÚV reports that Lava Friends chairperson Ragnhildur Jónsdóttir and former chairperson of the Lava Friends Gunnsteinn Ólafsson welcomed the news, calling it “a great victory for conservation in Iceland”.
As reported last year, the so-called Gálgahraun Nine were found guilty of refusing to obey police orders to leave the premises. As such, they were sentenced to either pay 100,000 ISK each within four weeks or spend eight days in jail. They were also sentenced to cover the legal fees of the prosecution.
In Ocotber 2013, the nine protesters blocked construction equipment in the Gálgahraun lava fields. Their grievance was that the fields were officially protected from development in 2009.
Despite the legal protection of the area, construction of a new road – Álftanesvegar – was green-lit in September 2013, and will in part go through Gálgahraun.
This sparked protests that took the form of direct action, as protesters put themselves between the lava fields and construction equipment, stopping development before it could begin. Nine of these protestors were arrested, charged with refusing to obey a police order to leave.