Ice­landic Gov’t Crum­bles Amid Scan­dal


REYK­JAVIK (Reuters) - Bjort Framtío, one of the three gov­ern­ment coali­tion par­ties in Ice­land, an­nounced early Fri­day Ice­landic time that it has de­cided to leave the gov­ern­ment, af­ter al­le­ga­tions that the Prime Min­is­ter’s party had at­tempted a cover up in­volv­ing the clear­ing of a sex of­fender’s crim­i­nal his­tory.

Benedikt Sveins­son, the fa­ther of Prime Min­is­ter Bjarni Benedik­ts­son, was ac­cused of writ­ing a let­ter rec­om­mend­ing the clear­ing of con­victed sex of­fender Hjalti Sig­ur­jón Hauks­son.

Hauks­son was in 2004 sen­tenced to five and a half years im­pris­on­ment for se­ri­ous and re­peated sex­ual of­fences against his step­daugh­ter from when she was five and un­til she was sev­en­teen.

Crim­i­nals con­victed of se­ri­ous of­fences in Ice­land can ap­ply to au­thor­i­ties to have their “honor re­stored”, ef­fec­tively eras­ing their crim­i­nal records. Among the re­quire­ments to ob­tain the status is a let­ter of rec­om­men­da­tion by a close friend or an as­so­ciate.

Ini­tially the Min­istry of Jus­tice, led by Jus­tice Min­is­ter and Benedik­ts­son’s party mem­ber Si­gríour Á. An­der­sen, re­fused to dis­close who had writ­ten a rec­om­men­da­tion for Hauks­son.

But fol­low­ing a par­lia­men­tary com­mit­tee rul­ing that the Min­istry had gone be­yond laws dic­tat­ing free­dom of in­for­ma­tion, the Min­istry gave in and re­vealed that Sveins­son had writ­ten the let­ter.

What has, fur­ther­more, lead to the break­down in the gov­ern­ment was an in­ter­view Jus­tice Min­ster An­der­sen gave to Stoo 2 news, in which she re­vealed that she had in­formed Benedik­ts­son about his fa­ther’s in­volve­ment last July, but had not dis­closed that in­for­ma­tion to any­one else. A close to Björt Framtid told Reuters that the mat­ter had been dis­cussed at a party meet­ing yes­ter­day, where a unan­i­mous de­ci­sion had been made to leave the gov­ern­ment.

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