For the past few years, the case of Tony Omos, a Nigerian asylum seeker, has made headlines in Iceland. Part of the scandal involved Gísli Freyr Valdórsson, who was an assistant to the Interior Minister. Gísli Freyr was eventually convicted of leaking a Ministry document containing sensitive personal information and slander about Omos to the media in November, 2013. Gísli Freyr – who reportedly admitted to leaking the confidential and slanderous document to influence the public on Omos’s asylum request – was given a suspended prison sentence, and as of January, was still in negotiations with Omos over a settlement for the breach. Omos, who was deported in 2013, is currently residing in Italy while his significant other and child are still in Iceland.
In November, 2014, the Interior Minister, Hanna Birna, resigned because the breach had occurred on her watch.
Now Paul Fontaine of Grapevine reports that the Data Protection Authority (DPA) has ruled that Reykjavík Police Chief Sigríður Björk Guðjónsdóttir, during her time as Suðurnes Police Chief, broke the law when she sent Gísli Freyr Valdórsson the confidential information on Omos:
Kjarninn reports that Gísli Freyr had no legal authority to ask for the information, nor did Sigríður Björk have the right to send it. The Directorate of Immigration has also been criticised in the ruling for not fully ensuring the protection of information about Tony.
This blogger is not suggesting that Omos would not have been deported if not for the leak, but any leak of sensitive information concerning an asylum seeker is of tremendous concern. That the leak contained unsubstantiated and slanderous claims to influence the outcome just makes it all that much worse. A civil settlement between the former assistant and Omos is appropriate, but does not change the fact that Omos was deported.