2 Oct 2013

Russia charges Greenpeace activists with piracy

Russia has charged five Greenpeace protestors with piracy following a protest on an Arctic oil platform, Greenpeace says.

Russia charges Greenpeace qactivists with piracy (Reuters)

It was first announced on Wednesday morning that a Brazilian activist and a British freelance videographer, who were 30 people who were arrested after the protest last month, had been charged.

Greenpeace named the pair as Ana Paula Alminhana Maciel from Brazil and Kieron Bryan from the UK.

Later, Greenpeace tweeted that three further protestors, Roman Dolgov of Russia, Sini Saarela of Finland, and Dima Litvinov of the US, had been cahrged with piracy.

Greenpeace said its legal team was informed that two activists would be charged with the crime – which carries a sentence of up to 15 years in prison.

It is understood that protestors had tried to scale the oil rig, owned by state-controlled company Gazprom. Russia’s coastguard then boarded the Greenpeace ship, Arctic Sunrise, and towed the activists to Russia.

Greenpeace International’s General Counsel Jasper Teulings has previously said the actions by Russian authorities are a sign of “desperation”.

“The activists climbed Gazprom’s Arctic oil platform for a completely safe and peaceful protest against dangerous drilling, carrying only banners and rope,” he said. “Piracy laws do not apply to safe and peaceful protests.”

The activists are all in custody in Russia’s northern city of Murmansk.

On Tuesday night Greenpeace took its protest against Gazprom to the football, unfurling a giant banner at the Champion’s League match between Basel and FC Schalke 04 (see above).