Iceland's Government May Pay Reparations To Five Wrongly Accused Of Murder - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Iceland’s Government May Pay Reparations To Five Wrongly Accused Of Murder

Published September 28, 2018

Andie Fontaine
Photo by
Baldur Web

The Icelandic government may pay financial reparations to the five men who were wrongly accused of murder in 1974 and spent many years in prison thereafter. These five had all charges against them dropped yesterday.

As reported yesterday, the Supreme Court of Iceland officially acquitted Sævar Marinó Cieselski, Tryggva Rúnar Leifsson, Kristján Viðar Júlíusson, Guðjón Skarphéðinsson and Albert Klahn Skaftason of all charges levied against them in the infamous Guðmundur and Geirfinnur Case, an unsolved disappearance case that happened in 1974.

Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir spoke with RÚV on the matter. While the Icelandic government has apologised for the mistreatment the accused endured, little else has been decided beyond this. A workgroup will be assembled after the weekend to determine the best response to this tragedy, which may include financial compensation, but no formal decision has been reached on this point.

The case itself is legendary in Icelandic criminal history, even garnering itself its own Netflix documentary. Despite the bodies of Guðmundur Einarsson and Geirfinnur Einarsson never being found, police presumed they were murdered, pinning the blame on the suspects.

After extensive interrogation, solitary confinement and torture, the suspects eventually pled guilty to the crimes—despite a total lack of forensic or circumstantial evidence implicating any of them. They would do long stretches in prison over these charges, but the Icelandic public remained convinced of their innocence. In the wake of their sentencing and release from prison, many of these suspects found their lives utterly destroyed.

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