Iceland’s Supreme Court lifted the financial blocking of Wikileaks
Iceland’s Supreme Court ruled on 24 April 2013 that Valitor, Visa’s local partner in Iceland, had to resume processing online donations to WikiLeaks within two weeks or face a daily fine of around 5200 Euro in case of non-compliance, thus backing up the decision taken by a lower Icelandic court in July 2012.
“This is a victory for WikiLeaks and freedom of information. The arbitrary blocking of payments put in place by financial service companies was completely illegal and has now been condemned as such by a country’s highest court”, stated Reporters Without Borders which urged all the other financial companies involved, directly or indirectly, in blocking payments to Wikileaks, “to comply with the logic of Iceland’s supreme court ruling without waiting to be legally forced to do so.”
"We thank the Icelandic people for showing that they will not be bullied by powerful Washington-backed financial services companies like Visa and we send out a warning to the other companies involved in this blockade - you're next," stated Mr Assange for AP news agency.
The case started in 2010 when several financial institutions including Visa and MasterCard stopped processing donations and other payments to WikiLeaks, after Wikileaks had decided to start publishing about 250 000 US State Department emails, letters and other information.
According to WikiLeaks the financial blockade resulted in a 95% drop in revenue which came mostly from donations. DataCell, a company collecting donations for WikiLeaks, filed a complaint with the European Commission against Visa Europe, MasterCard Europe and American Express accusing them of violating European Union competition rules.
A preliminary decision of the Commission in November 2012 said blocking of processing donations was unlikely to have violated EU anti-trust rules. On 19 November 2012, the European Parliament passed a resolution asking the European Commission to take measures to prevent credit card companies from refusing to process payments to companies and NGOs. Yet, the Commission continued to allow the blocking.
Court orders Visa subcontractor to lift block on payments to WikiLeaks
Wikileaks in Iceland court victory over payments blockade (25.04.2013)
Wikileaks Press release - Milestone Supreme Court Decision for WikiLeaks
Case in Iceland (24.04.2013)
EDRi-gram: Banking blockade on Wikileaks broken by the Icelandic court