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Hundreds Protest Handling of Rape Cases

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Hundreds Protest Handling of Rape Cases

The Reykjavík Police Station, Hverfisgata. Photo: The Greater Reykjavík Police.

Hundreds of people protested in front of the Reykjavík Police station on Hverfisgata last night, following reports that police had failed to request the detention of two alleged rapists.

Protesters interviewed by RÚV expressed their frustration with the court system when it comes to sexual crimes. Oddný Arnarsdóttir, organizer of the protest, told RÚV, “So many cases have come up lately, and I know this case is not finished or anything, but people had to get together and let their voices be heard. People have had enough.”

Reykjavík Police Chief Sigríður Björk Guðjónsdóttir addressed the crowd and declared the case would be investigated in detail, and that police authorities wanted to do everything in their power to boost the investigation of sexual assaults. She declined to comment on any particular case. Her speech was received with boos from protesters. Later in the evening, some protesters threw eggs at the police station.

Sources tell RÚV that the alleged rapes took place September 19 and October 14. Charges were filed a few days after the second assault. A house search was conducted October 20 while the suspects were in police custody.

Alda Hrönn Jóhannesdóttir, attorney for the police, claimed detention was not requested because it was not believed to be in the interest of the investigation, nor was there a strong, well-founded suspicion regarding public interest. She said the investigation was well underway.

She denies the apartment where the crimes allegedly took place was specially equipped for violence, as reported by Fréttablaðið and Vísir yesterday.

Vilhjálmur H. Vilhjálmsson, a lawyer for one of the suspects, has threatened Fréttablaðið with a lawsuit. Latest reports by Vísir this morning indicate that he has filed charges with police against the two young women for false accusations.

The Greater Reykjavík Police issued a statement on their Facebook page yesterday, emphasizing that the investigation of the sexual assaults is being prioritized.

The suspects were identified in social media yesterday with their names and photos of them distributed widely. Attorney Sigríður Rut Júlíusdóttir told RÚV, “I believe this is crossing the line, that this is unauthorized publishing of names, distributed via social media, and I’d like to warn people not to distribute them.”

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