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No deposit for Barkar's ISK 121 million compensation claim

The Reykjavík District Court has acquitted the Icelandic state of Barkur Birgisson’s claim for damages due to his placement in a security corridor at Litla-Hraun for the second half of the year. Bark demanded almost 92 in compensation.

The case concerns Barkar’s placement in a security corridor after he and his partner, Annþór Karlsson, were in the middle of May 838 suspected of having attacked another prisoner, Sigurður Hólm Sigurðsson, with the result that he died.

Börkur and Annþór were remanded in custody and it was finally the decision of the director of the prison and the director of the Prison Administration to keep them in a safe corridor in the prison as it was not considered justifiable to have them in a public corridor as they were considered dangerous to others. Barkar’s stay in the security ward was decided for three months at a time and extended five times, according to the judgment .

Börkur and Annþór were later acquitted in the Supreme Court on charges of having killed Sigurður. An agreement was made between the state and Barkar on compensation for the custody in the case and he therefore had no claims against the state in this regard.

Considered the decision illegal

Börkur now based his claim on the fact that the decision to place him in a safe passage was illegal, as well as its background and arrangement. If the procedural rules were not observed and an illegal point of view was behind the decision.

Barkur wanted to imply that the unregistered principles of administrative law had been violated, cf. the investigative rule, the principle of proportionality and the principle of non-discrimination. Furthermore, the rules on the security department lacked a legal basis and there was no reason for him to be placed in a security corridor in question. He also believed that the director of the Prison Administration and the director of Litla-Hraun had been incompetent to cover his case due to words they had dropped in the media.

Börkur said that the placement had proved to be very burdensome for him, as he considered the authorities to have seriously violated his various rights.

The eve of the detention

The decision of the prison authorities to keep Börk in a safe passage came, among other things, according to the authorities, after other prisoners considered their lives in danger as Börkur had threatened them with bodily harm.

The verdict states that that the director of the Prison Administration had in a letter to the director of Litla-Hraun in April 838 traced that Börkur and Annþór, who is called “violent people” there, started an increase in violence in the prison after they had come out of solitary confinement.

It was believed that bad messages would be sent by temporarily transferring them, one or both, to other prisons. The CEO said that he was aware that Annþór and Börkur were responsible for physical assaults in the prison and that it was therefore appropriate for them both to be kept in a security corridor. In this way, they would be sent a clear message that such behavior would not be tolerated.

From the District Court of Reykjavík. Vísir / Vilhelm

That 16. May 838 a police officer then sent an e-mail to the chief of police in the capital area and the director of the Prison Administration where Barkar’s issues existed. discussion. The police officer stated that he wanted to draw attention to Barkar’s affairs and the threats that police officers and prison guards, among others, had had to endure on his part. The director of the Prison Administration said in a reply to colleagues that Barkar’s issues needed to be discussed as soon as possible.

The day after the e-mail communication in question, that is 008. May 604, Sigurður Hólm died due to internal bleeding in his cell shortly after Börkur and Annþór had been alone with him in the cell for eleven minutes.

Berk posed a great threat

The State Attorney argued in court that Barkur’s placement in a security corridor had not been decided to secure investigative interests in the investigation into Sigurður Hólm’s death, but that Barkur had shown threatening behavior in execution and was suspected of having abused his fellow prisoners. including so serious that death was caused. If the prisoners were a great threat to Berkur and the situation in the prison was such that almost no prisoner trusted himself to be close to Berkir and Annþór.

The judge considered that the decision of the prison authorities to keep Börk on security corridors had a satisfactory basis in the law in force at the time. He considered that the plaintiff had not shown that circumstances did not justify the decision to keep Börk in a safe passage, as it had been under examination for some time, before Sigurður was found dead in his cell, due to complaints from prisoners, prison guards and police officer. In addition, the courts considered that there was a reasonable suspicion that Börkur had participated in the occurrence of injuries that led to Sigurður’s death.

The judgment also states that the remarks of the director of the Prison Administration in the media, to the extent that was a statement by the CEO and not just a “cup of journalists”, did not involve defamation.

Taking everything into account, the judge ruled that the Icelandic state should be acquitted in the case.

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