Greenpeace International condemned a series of Russian court rulings which left dozens of activists in custody pending investigations into a peaceful Arctic oil protest. The group insisted it would not be intimidated and its lawyers would lodge an appeal seeking the immediate release of those detained.
Twenty-eight Greenpeace International activists, as well as a freelance photographer and a freelance videographer, were taken to the Lenin district court in Murmansk in handcuffs, where they were placed in a cage and provided inadequate translators.
Of the 30, a total of 22 were remanded in custody for two months pending an investigation into piracy charges, while eight were detained for three days pending a new hearing.
Greenpeace International Executive Director Kumi Naidoo said:
“These detentions are like the Russian oil industry itself, a relic from an earlier era. Our peaceful activists are in prison tonight for shining a light on Gazprom’s recklessness. The Arctic is melting before our eyes, and these brave activists stand in defiance of those who wish to exploit this unfolding crisis to drill for more oil.
“I stand alongside millions of people around the world in solidarity with the Arctic 30. Their actions are justified by the abject failure of governments around the world to protect their people from the threat of climate change. We will not be intimidated, we will appeal these detentions, and together we will prevail.”
Included among the 18 nationalities remanded were a 21-year-old Argentinian activist and the American captain of the Rainbow Warrior flagship which was bombed by French government agents in New Zealand in 1985. A full list of those detained can be seen here:
Over 500,000 people have written to Russian embassies around the world since the ship was seized a week ago, and Greenpeace is organizing solidarity protests on Friday in cities around the world.
Greenpeace International insists that possible piracy charges are unjustified, and that Russian authorities boarded the Arctic Sunrise illegally in international waters. Several international legal experts have supported that view.