The National Queer Organisation (Samtökin ’78) has harshly criticised police for not enforcing Iceland’s hate speech law, and intend to go to the State Prosecutor to see that charges are filed.
Last April, Samtökin ’78 filed charges against ten individuals for hateful comments made towards the LGBT community, in public, on social media. However, capital area police have decided they will not investigate, and are letting the charges drop.
In a statement to the press, the organisation criticised the police’s decision, saying that in dropping the charges, the police have denied the courts the ability to have the last word on whether or not the comments made constituted hate speech. For this reason, Samtökin ’78 has decided to refer the matter to the State Prosecutor’s office, and will submit their case today.
“Samtökin ’78 will continue its decades-long fight for the dignity of queer people in Iceland,” the statement reads in part. “The organisation is therefore completely prepared to say that if the State Prosecutor does not review the decision of the police, their justifications will be brought under the review of the European Court of Human Rights.”
The comments in question were made on social media in response to news that the town of Hafnarfjörður had decided to start teaching gay studies in town schools.
Article 233(a) of the General Penal Code states: “Anyone who does by means of ridicule, calumniation, insult, threat or otherwise assault [a person or group of persons] on account of their nationality, colour, [race, religion or sexual inclination] shall be subject to fines or imprisonment for up to 2 years.”