From Iceland — Lawyer Going After Journalists, Social Media Activity

Lawyer Going After Journalists, Social Media Activity

Published May 3, 2016

Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
Becky Conway

A lawyer representing two men who were accused of rape is now setting his sights on journalists and people posting on social media about the case.

Vísir reports that Vilhjálmur Hans Vilhjálmsson, the lawyer in question, is targeting media company 365 for their coverage of a reported rape case in Reykjavík last year, wherein two suspects were arrested and later released by police.

Vilhjálmur has objections to some of the media coverage of the case, which sparked protests in front of the police station at Hlemmur Square in downtown Reykjavík as well as extensive commentary across social media. The journalists being accused of libel include Sigmundur Ernir Rúnarsson, who was the news editor of Hringbraut at the time; Jóhann Skúli Björnsson of DV; and numerous 365 journalists, including Nadine Guðrún Yaghi, Stefán Rafn Sigurbjörnsson, Þórhildur Þorkelsdóttir and Heimir Már Pétursson.

However, Vilhjálmur is also extending his case against numerous other people for posts they made on Facebook and Twitter, in particular for instances where the faces or names of the accused were published.

In all, he is demanding that 22 individuals withdraw their remarks, apologise, and pay damages to his clients, in addition to covering their legal expenses. While the grand total being asked for is not known, 365 alone is being asked to pay a total of 30 million ISK in damages.

The two suspects were accused of having an apartment “specially outfitted” for their alleged crimes, but state prosecutors ultimately decided to drop the charges for lack of evidence.

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