Alþingi approved compensation bill
The bill requested Alþingi make it possible to pay compensation to the living former defendants, and families of those who have since died, who were finally acquitted last year. Under the bill, the compensation amounts will be determined by how long each innocent defendant spent behind bars. The bill was first submitted and debated in Alþingi in October.
Tryggvi Rúnar Leifsson, Albert Klahn Skaptason, Sævar Ciesielski, Guðjón Skarphéðinsson, and Kristján Viðar Júlíusson were formally acquitted at the Supreme Court of Iceland in September 2018. The court clarified that the five men had been innocent and were nevertheless found guilty of two murders and handed down the harshest sentences available. There is cause for compensation from the State, the court concluded.
The men were convicted for two alleged murders in 1974, but important questions in the case were never answered and their confessions are widely believed to have been forced.
The bill passed Alþingi with 41 votes in favour, nine against, and three abstentions. Ten MPs were absent, including the prime minister, who submitted the bill, as she was at the NATO leaders’ meeting near London.