A further 15 Greenpeace International activists and a Russian freelance photographer were today charged with piracy in Murmansk, over a protest against Gazprom’s Arctic offshore drilling plans.
This means that all 28 activists from the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise, as well as two freelancers, now face the charge. If convicted, the offence carries a maximum 15 year jail term.
Lawyers acting on behalf of Greenpeace International have now lodged formal appeals in the Murmansk Lenin district court against the continued detention of the Arctic 30.
The activists were arrested by the Russian authorities after two Greenpeace members climbed the Gazprom-operated Prirazlomnaya offshore platform in the Pechora Sea on September 18.
Greenpeace claims that it was a peaceful protest which posed no threat to the Russian authorities.
“Piracy only applies when attempting to seize property with violence or threats of violence, not to a peaceful protest. Piracy can only be committed against a ship. The Prirazlomnaya is a fixed platform, as Gazprom itself acknowledges,” Greenpeace said.
It added: “At no point during the Greenpeace protest was there any attempt to capture the Prirazlomnaya platform. Two climbers tried to climb the side of the platform to bring media attention to oil drilling in the Arctic.”
Gazprom plans to start production from the Prirazlomnaya platform in the first quarter of 2014, and according to Greenpeace, these actions by the Russian oil and gas giant will raise the risk of an oil spill in an area that contains three nature reserves protected by Russian law. Greenpeace occupied the same platform in August 2012.
October 04, 2013