From Iceland — Journalists In Samherji Case Accused Of Distributing Porn From Ship Captain's Phone, Lawyer Says No Evidence

Journalists In Samherji Case Accused Of Distributing Porn From Ship Captain’s Phone, Lawyer Says No Evidence

Published February 24, 2022

Photo by
Wikileaks

Police are now saying that their decision to question four journalists who reported on the so-called “Samherji guerilla division” is not based on documentation allegedly from a stolen phone that contributed to this reporting, but rather because pornographic material that was also on this phone was distributed between the journalists in question. A lawyer for one of the journalists accused has said there is zero evidence for this accusation, and that the police are simply engaging in silencing tactics.

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As reported, the “Samherji guerilla division” sought to engage in damage control over the company’s revealed involvement in bribery and tax evasion related to their operations in Namibia. Communications between the people in this group were brought to light by the four journalists in question, and it is alleged that these communications were obtained from a phone stolen from Samherji ship captain Páll Steingrímsson. Icelandic law and international journalistic ethics protect journalists from having to reveal their sources, which prompted condemnation of the police questioning these journalists from Transparency International and numerous members of Parliament.

Vísir reports that the police are now contending that there was pornographic material on this stolen phone, and that the suspected thief of the phone has told police that he handed over the phone to two separate journalists. Police believe the journalists shared the pornographic material between each other, which would not fall under protection of journalistic sources but rather constitute technological sexual violence.

Gunnar Ingi Jóhannsson, the lawyer for Stundin journalist Aðalsteinn Kjartansson, said that the police have no evidence that the pornographic material was extracted from the phone, let alone distributed. He added that these police investigations are a silencing tactic that has everything to do with Samherji.

“The purpose of this investigation is to teach journalists a lesson,” Gunnar Ingi said. “The matter was called distasteful, but what is distasteful is my client’s work on reporting news about the Samherji guerilla division, because that is what he did and what the police consider distasteful.”

He said that there were many unanswered questions in the matter, including the fact that the police allege they are investigating a case of technological sexual violence when no such charges have been filed. He also pointed out that his client has contended that he was handed printed out copies of the Samherji guerilla division communications.

“This attempt by the police is unlawful and unsubstantiated and must be stopped at once,” he concluded.

For the time being, police investigations are continuing.

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