Cablegate: Iceland: Acquittal in First Tip Court Case
DE RUEHRK #0215 3381545
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 041545Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY REYKJAVIK
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4231
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
UNCLAS REYKJAVIK 000215
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KTIP PGOV PHUM PREL IC
SUBJECT: ICELAND: ACQUITTAL IN FIRST TIP COURT CASE
1. (U) In October, prosecutors indicted Catalina Ncogo, an Icelandic
citizen of Equatorial Guinean origin, on charges of human
trafficking, profiting from prostitution as a third party, and drug
smuggling. The trafficking indictment was the first charge of such
a nature in Iceland. On December 1 the Reykjanes District Court
acquitted Ncogo of the human trafficking charge, but convicted her
on the charges of profiting from prostitution and drug smuggling.
2. (U) Ncogo was accused of deceiving another woman, a compatriot
from Equatorial Guinea, into coming to Iceland for a vacation and
then holding her captive for a number of months. The woman was
allegedly coerced into prostitution and threatened with physical
violence and even death if she protested. The district court ruled
against the trafficking indictment citing insufficient evidence to
prove that Ncogo had threatened the woman and kept her enslaved.
There are plans, currently on the legislative docket, to amend the
existing TIP legislation to lower the burden of proof needed to
obtain a trafficking conviction. Post's contacts said that if these
amendments were in place already, Ncogo probably would have been
convicted on the TIP charges.
3. (U) The court did convict Ncogo of profiting from prostitution
and drug smuggling. The court stated it was clear that Ncogo's
prostitution operation had been extensive and that she had profited
from pimping out not only the woman from Equatorial Guinea but
several "other anonymous women" as well. Ncogo's lawyer said that he
intends to appeal this decision and take the matter before the
Icelandic Supreme Court. The District Court also convicted an
accomplice of Ncogo, an Icelandic man, who assisted her in her
operations by, for example, taking photographs of the prostitutes
for an advertisement website.
4. (U) Sigdrudur Gudmundsdottir, Director of the women's counseling
center Stigamot, told Emboff that she was pleased an indictment on
trafficking had taken place. She was also pleased that a conviction
had occurred, even if it was not on the charge of human trafficking.
Gudmundsdottir commented that Iceland has made considerable
progress in its anti-trafficking efforts recently, notably the
adoption in March of an Icelandic national action plan against
trafficking in human beings.