I visited Iceland a couple of years ago and I’m so excited that I’m going again in November. I read a lot of novels set in Iceland, including those by Viktor Arnar Ingólfsson, Yrsa Sigurðardóttir and Michael Ridpath, and since one in ten Icelandic people are published authors, I have a lot more to discover and enjoy!
I came across an item on the BBC website today about two real murders which took place in the 1970’s for which several people were arrested, sent for trial, found guilty and imprisoned… except it seems now that a gross miscarriage of justice might have taken place. There have been similar cases in Britain, where overzealous police (or sometimes downright corrupt officers) have forced through cases built on dodgy evidence, forced convictions, lies and worse. It is shocking, and dreadful, when this happens and the very police who should be the model for upright, decent, and honest behaviour are corrupt, careless or stupid.
In this Icelandic case, two men disappeared, and were presumed murdered, their bodies hidden in the vast and desolate lava fields. For British people this will have resonances of the dreadful Saddleworth Moors murders, where the bodies of murdered children disappeared in the empty, rolling and lonely moorlands. In the Icelandic case, suspect were arrested and held in solitary confinement for weeks, months on end, unable to see their legal representatives, and suffering all sorts of pressures, and interrogation techniques which were virtually torture.
There is an excellent article here on the case, with chilling photographs to accompany it: