Icelandic courts have ordered Visa and Mastercard's local partners to accept payments for WikiLeaks donations, or face daily fines.
On the WikiLeaks website, they state that a blockade by Visa and Mastercard against payments to WikiLeaks has been in effect now for 587 days.
Now help is on the way, as the Reykjavík District Court in Iceland has ruled that Visa and Mastercard's local partner in that country, Valitor, has broken the law, by preventing WikiLeaks from receiving donations.
The court has ordered the company to resume processing donations to WikiLeaks within two weeks, or face daily fines of over $6,000.
WikiLeaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson told AP that it was “a small but very important step in fighting back against these powerful banks.” He said other lawsuits are ongoing in Denmark and Belgium.
WikiLeaks and its credit card processor, DataCell, have also filed a complaint with the European Commission. The Commission is expected to make a decision on this before the end of August, according to a statement from WikiLeaks.
While this order only affects payments from Iceland, it is a major step forward in stopping the blockade, which was introduced by the U.S. after the release of sensitive government documents relating to that country. The blockade began in December 2010, with Visa and Mastercard both saying at that time that they were cutting the links, because WikiLeaks was "engaging in or facilititating" illegal activity.
Paypal also blocked payments, and the Paypal vice-president reportedly said that he had come under pressure from the U.S. state department to cut payments to WikiLeaks.
After the court victory in Iceland, Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks, gave the following statement, "This is a significant victory against Washington’s attempt to silence WikiLeaks. We will not be silenced. 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.”
Any interested persons who wish to support the WikiLeaks fight to "Beat the Blockade" can purchase music created for WikiLeaks. The "Beat the Blockade" CD is available online with one version available at $11.99 and a supporter version at $24.99.
All proceeds from the release of the CD will go to WikiLeaks and the Bradley Manning Defense Fund.