Sindri Þór Stefánsson, who escaped from a minimum security prison earlier this week and caught a plane to Sweden, wants to set the record straight.
As reported, Sindri was in custody in Sogn Prison under suspicion of being involved in the theft of some 600 computers used for cryptocurrency mining last winter. He managed to leave the prison grounds fairly easily, and boarded a plane for Sweden under a false name. His whereabouts have been unknown since.
Fréttablaðið now reports that Sindri has sent a press release giving his side of the story.
“There are two sides to every story, and that’s especially the case here,” Sindri writes. “I know it wasn’t right for me to flee the country like I did, and I couldn’t take it back if I wanted to. Why did I do it?”
Sindri was not serving a sentence in prison; rather, he was in custody, awaiting further questioning and a trial. In Iceland, the length of time that someone is in pre-trial custody can vary greatly. According to Sindri, his period of custody had run out, but at a meeting he had with staff at Sogn, they told him that although he was technically free, the police would arrest him immediately if he left the prison. He contends he was pressured into signing a statement agreeing to remain in custody.
“I simply refuse to be in prison of my own free will, especially when the police threaten to arrest me without explanation,” Sindri says. “I’m not trying to say that it was the right decision to leave, I really regret it, as my family has had to endure a great deal of harassment from the press and the general public. I didn’t expect an international arrest warrant to be issued against me, as I was legally free to leave, and believed it was out of the question that I would be labelled a fugitive. I would never have done this if I didn’t believe I was a free man.”
Sindri says furthermore that the police have no evidence that he was involved in the computer heist; only suspicions. He was nonetheless put in solitary confinement, and intends to take the case to Human Rights Court.
“I have no interest in living in fear and hiding and worrying my family any further,” Sindri says in closing. “A deal is being worked out with the Icelandic police to be able to come home without being arrested overseas. … I can be on the run as long as I please, I’ve been in touch with people who could give me a place to stay, a vehicle, and fake identification if I need money to live on. It would be no problem to do so if I wanted, but I’d rather not, so I’m going to deal with matters in Iceland and will be back soon.”