Iceland May be First Country to Jail a Head of State for Global Economic Crash

Posted on October 5, 2010


REYKJAVIK, Iceland (AP) — Thousands of Icelanders angry about the nation’s dire economy protested noisily outside the parliament on Monday, as Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir promised to do more to help the nation recover from its crippling financial crisis.

In a speech to open Parliament, Sigurdardottir sought to reassure Icelanders who say the government has failed to protect their assets in the aftermath of the financial crash of 2008.

Although Iceland’s economy is slowing recovering, many still fear their homes will be repossessed and say the government should do more to help people in financial trouble.

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Iceland’s economy went into free fall after all three of its major banks collapsed in 2008, causing widespread unemployment and sparking protests that toppled the government.

Lawmakers last week voted to refer former Prime Minister Geir Haarde to a special court for allegedly failing to prevent Iceland’s financial crash.

If found guilty, Haarde faces up to two years in jail and would become the first world leader to be charged in connection with the global financial crisis. Many Icelanders, however, felt the blame extended beyond Haarde and are demanding more former ministers be brought to justice.

The demonstration that seemed to amount to about 7,000 people at its height, was largely peaceful but well-organized.  For days before it began, messages circulated on the internet via blogs and videos telling people where to gather and when.

Citizens now hope to charge other leaders in connection with the dire situation in which the Icelandic economy finds itself.

If the current administration doesn’t move more quickly to address the situation  here in which more homes and autos are being repossessed, then count on this being common here.  It is interesting that the news of the protest has not been extensively covered in our news.