Bergþórugata 20, 101, Reykjavik

Activist deemed “guilty” by court for participation in a sit-in protest.

Yesterday a decision was announced in the case of the state vs. Kári Orrason, who took part in a sit-in protest at the ministry of justice during their regular opening time.

Kári was found guilty and as a result he has to pay the entire legal cost for the case – a total of 603.560ISK

Arngrímur Ísberg, the presiding judge did not take into account in his judgement any of Kári’s lawyers’ arguments which were first and foremost built on the right to express political views in public spaces in the form of protest. Kári’s testimony as well as the testimony of one of his witnesses were dismissed by the judge. Meanwhile the words of the police officers who arrested Kári, who had used force and intimidation tactics on protesters for months prior to the sit down protest in question were taken at their word and their testimonies were, according to the judge, proof enough of Kári’s “guilt” in the case.

Arngrímur Ísberg judged Kári as “guilty” of disobeying police’s orders of “leaving the open lobby of the ministry of justice”. He did this without taking a stance on werther the police’s orders were what the Icelandic legal system would call righteous or even necessary. There was no judgement on the way that the police officers in the case had “upheld law and order in a public space” as can be seen in the text image that we’ve attached to this post.

For those who believe in the polices’ overall right to arrest people and to use their force in other ways, we could tell you that our “justice system” considers the police to not need concrete reasons for the orders they give people. Everyone should obey every order of the police – no matter what the order is or why – without hesitation, or they will be arrested. Judges stand with the police through everything, and as a result they have been able to order people around and arrest them for taking part in protests, or for standing in a spot that the police decides they don’t want you to stand in, or for asking them questions they don’t feel like answering.

Kári is not the first or the last person that the state will try to tire out with these drawn out and tiresome runarounds. Looking back at court cases of protesters over the last decades it is clear to see that this is how the legal system punishes those that take part in any opposition to the state and the ruling classes. There are still four people awaiting judgement in the same case as Kári, and at the same time another case in a higher court is proceeding against two other activists which is also in relation to the fight against borders and deportation.

Those of us that see the legal system for what it is – a regressive, oppressive and violent tool of the state – are so tired of the masquerade theatre that these court cases are. This case is only a small part of the oppression and violence the state employs against those that will not silently obey every order. The fight goes on and we will not let annoyed cops, offended ministry staff, megalomaniac judges or bitter prosecutors knock us off course!

We see and we know that everything they hold up as ‘holy’ is in reality nothing but the do’s and don’ts of idolatry, and so can be discarded as such.

That’s why we keep laughing, dancing and fuelling the anger and joy that drives all creative and provocative thoughts and actions, even if it means us sometimes having to fight and suffer for it.


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