Children are being “ targeted and sold for sex in America every day". John Ryan, National Center for Missing & Expl...
martedì 19 settembre 2017
Paedophile cover-up brings down Iceland govt
Iceland will hold a second snap election within a year after the administration was destabilised by a row over a paedophile scandal centring around the prime minister’s father.
Just nine months after it formed a coalition, the Bright Future Party withdrew, blaming a “serious breach of trust” with Prime Minister Bjarni Benediktsson’s Independence Party over the apparent cover-up.
It follows claims the Independence Party tried to hide a letter written by the prime minister’s father Benedikt Sveinsson to help a friend convicted of child rape clear his criminal record.
The justice minister, Sigridur Andersen, a member of the Independence Party, told the prime minister about the letter in July, but it was not revealed until pressure was applied from a parliamentary committee.
The friend, Hjalti Sigurjon Hauksson, was given a five-year sentence in 2004 for repeatedly raping his stepdaughter for 12 years from the age of five.
Sveinsson confirmed he signed a letter supporting the application to have the paedophile’s “honour restored” by Iceland’s judiciary.
A widely criticised judicial procedure restores the “civil standing” of former convicts and requires the recommendation of a close friend.
The legal action allows former prisoners, for example, to apply for specific jobs, without erasing their criminal records.
Sveinsson said he had not discussed his letter with anyone. He announced: “I did not think of it as something that would justify Hjalti’s position. I never considered ‘restored honour’ as anything but a legal procedure making it possible for convicted criminals to regain some civil rights.”
The prime minister’s father added: “I would like to apologise to all those who have been hurt because of the matter.”
The Reform Party, the third-largest member of the coalition formed after the election last year, said it backed another election.
“In light of the situation, the Reform Party believes the right thing to do is to call an election immediately,” it announced.
Bright Future’s leader, Guðlaug Kristjánsdóttir, called the cover-up “the last straw”.
Prime Minister Benediktsson told the media: “We have lost the majority and I don’t see anything that indicates we can regain it. I am calling an election.”
He added that he would prefer the election to take place in November.
Benediktsson’s government will be the shortest in Icelandic history with the previous administration falling over the Panama Papers scandal exposing offshore tax havens.
Iceland’s economy was shattered by the collapse of banks during the 2008 financial crisis.