Banking blockade on Wikileaks broken by the Icelandic court

By EDRi · July 18, 2012

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Deutsch: [Island: Gericht bringt Finanzblockade gegen WikiLeaks zu Fall |]

An Icelandic court has made a step towards unblocking funds towards
WikiLeaks by recently ruling that Valitor, the local agent for Visa,
broke the contract when it stopped accepting donations for the website a
year ago.

The ban was the result of a blocking campaign started in December 2010
against WikiLeaks through Visa, Mastercard, Western Union, Bank of
America and PayPal following the US State Department cable leaks in
2010, revealing U.S. war crimes and statecraft. According to the
company, the blocking has led to a 95% decrease in its revenue.

“If this financial attack stands unchallenged, a dangerous, oppressive
and undemocratic precedent will have been set, the implications of which
go far beyond WikiLeaks and its work. Any organization that falls foul
of powerful finance companies or their political allies can expect
similar extrajudicial action. Greenpeace, Amnesty International, and
other international NGOs that work to expose the wrongdoing of powerful
players risk the same fate as WikiLeaks,” is WikiLeaks’ statement.

The blockade against WikiLeaks has also been criticized by the UN High
Commissioner for Human Rights as well as by the UN Special Rapporteur on
the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and
Expression and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights Special
Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression.

WikiLeaks has initiated legal actions against the financial entities,
using all its remaining financial resources to fight them in court.
Also, in July 2011, a preliminary investigation of the blockade was
started by the European Commission.

“Economic censorship is censorship. It is wrong. When it’s done outside
of the rule of law it’s doubly wrong. One by one those involved in the
attempted censorship of WikiLeaks will find themselves on the wrong side
of history,” stated WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

According to the decision, Valitor has 14 days to restart processing the
payments to WikiLeaks. Failing to do so will bring forth about 5 000
Euro/day in fines. Valitor will probably appeal the decision.

WikiLeaks has placed an anti-trust complaint at the European Commission
and a Commission decision on whether to pursue the financial services
companies involved in the blockade is expected before this Autumn.

WikiWin: Icelandic court orders Visa to process WikiLeaks $$$ –
Financial ban lifted in Assange victory (13.07.2012)

Wikeleaks Press Release: Victory in the first court case in the fight
against the imfamous Wikileaks banking blockade. (12.07.2012)

Wikileaks page on Banking Blockade

EDRi-gram: Rule of law in the hands of private companies.Wikileaks is
just the start (15.12.2010)