From Iceland — Lawyer For Accused May Sue Newspaper And Others

Lawyer For Accused May Sue Newspaper And Others

Published November 10, 2015

Andie Sophia Fontaine
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The lawyer for two men accused of rape and torture is demanding damages from Fréttablaðið for their reporting on the case, and may also sue others. The editorial office of Fréttablaðið stand by their coverage.

Stundin reports that Supreme Court lawyer Vilhjálmur H. Vilhjálmsson is demanding 20 million ISK from Fréttablaðið for their coverage of his clients, who stand accused of the rape and torture of at least two women, both of whom have filed charges against them.

Vilhjálmur maintains that his clients are innocent, and that the two women are having charges of false accusation filed against them. Furthermore, he objected to Fréttablaðið’s contention that the women were “viciously attacked” in an apartment that was “especially equipped for violence”. To support his point, he posted a video on Facebook of the apartment, albeit this is after the police already visited and searched the place.

As the names, faces, and Facebook profiles of the accused have been circulating social media, Vilhjálmur added that those who took part in revealing their identities may as well be facing charges.

RÚV reports that the newspaper is not budging from their position. Kristín Þorsteinsdóttir, publisher and editor-in-chief at 365, the company which publishes Fréttablaðið, says that it was in fact one of the police’s main lawyers who described the apartment of the accused as “especially equipped”. She added that the newspaper’s sources identified instruments of torture were in the apartment.

Fréttablaðið’s assistant editor, Fanney Birna Jónsdóttir, told RÚV that the newspaper cannot be held accountable for the public discussion that arises from their reporting.

As reported, many Icelanders were shocked and angered to learn that the two accused men were released from police custody after questioning, and had reportedly left the country. This prompted a protest demonstration at the police headquarters by Hlemmur yesterday afternoon, attended by hundreds.

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