Greenpeace has informed that five activists have been officially charged with piracy in Russia, over a protest against Gazprom’s Arctic offshore drilling plans.
The Greenpeace members charged with piracy are Russian activist Roman Dolgov, Finnish activist Sini Saarela, and Swedish/American activist Dima Litvinov, Ana Paula Alminhana Maciel from Brazil and freelance videographer Kieron Bryan from UK. Piracy charge in Russia carries a maximum 15 year jail sentence.
Responding to the news, Greenpeace International executive director Kumi Naidoo said: “A charge of piracy is being laid against men and women whose only crime is to be possessed of a conscience. This is an outrage and represents nothing less than an assault on the very principle of peaceful protest. Any claim that these activists are pirates is as absurd as it is abominable. It is utterly irrational, it is designed to intimidate and silence us, but we will not be cowed.”
A total of thirty people have now been arrested, 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.
Offshore Energy Today Staff, October 2, 2013