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Monday, September 30, 2013

Russia charges Greenpeace activists with piracy, refuses to set bail

by Joao Peixe,, September 27, 2013

A court in Murmansk, Russia, continues to discuss the fate of the 30 Greenpeace activists arrested during a protest against Arctic drilling.
Three of the 30 have already been refused bail. Denis Sinyakov, a photographer, was considered a flight risk due to his frequent trips abroad, and has been remanded in custody for two months, as have Roman Dolgov, an expert on marine pollution, and Paul Ruzycki, a Canadian national. The other activists are expected to receive their verdicts on Thursday afternoon.
Denis Sinyakov
Denis Sinyakov. (The Guardian)
The activists, who were on board the Greenpeace boat the Arctic Sunrise, were protesting drilling operations in Arctic waters at the Prirazlomnaya drilling platform, operated by natural gas giant Gazprom.
Two of the Greenpeace activists attempted to climb on to the rig and try and stop it from working, a protest against the drilling, which they claim is high risk to the Arctic environment.
The Russians have accused the activists of piracy, an offence that carries a maximum of 15 years in jail. Greenpeace claim that the charges are absurd, that their boat was outside Russia’s territory and in international waters, posing no threat to the rig. They claim that they have a long history of nonviolent protests, and that there was never any intent of piracy or acts of terrorism from their members.
The Investigative Committee of Russia has already found everyone arrested from the boat guilty of attempting to storm the drilling platform and seize control.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, confessed that it was obvious that the Greenpeace activists were not pirates, but that “formally they were trying to seize this platform. It is evident that those people violated international law.”Still the prosecutors are continuing with their charges of piracy despite what the president stated.

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