Greenpeace Activists To Be Held 2 Months For Arctic Oil Protest

Search form

Greenpeace Activists To Be Held 2 Months For Arctic Oil Protest

Greenpeace Activists To Be Held 2 Months For Arctic Oil Protest
Tue, 10/1/2013 - by Steve Gutterman
This article originally appeared on Reuters

A Russian court ordered 20 Greenpeace activists from around the world to be held in custody for two months pending further investigation over a protest against offshore oil drilling in the Arctic, drawing condemnation and a vow to appeal.

In proceedings that Greenpeace said evoked Soviet-era scare tactics, activists from a ship used in the protest at an oil rig were led to court in the port of Murmansk in handcuffs and held in cages for a series of hearings that ended early on Friday.

Twenty activists, a freelance photographer and a freelance videographer were ordered to be held for two months, while eight activists were ordered to be held for three days pending a further hearing, the environmental advocacy group said.

All 30 were detained last week aboard the icebreaker Arctic Sunrise, which was seized by Russian coast guards in the Barents Sea after two activists tried to scale state-controlled Gazprom's Prirazlomnaya offshore oil platform.

Russia's federal Investigative Committee has termed the protest an attack and opened a criminal case on suspicion of piracy, which is punishable by up to 15 years in jail. The activists have not yet been charged.

Several were crew of the Arctic Sunrise, from deck hands and cooks to its American captain Pete Willcox, a veteran of Greenpeace protests at sea, Netherlands-based Greenpeace International 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," Greenpeace International Executive Director Kumi Naidoo said.

In a statement, Naidoo said Greenpeace would appeal the rulings.

The 30 people included six Britons and four Russians as well as nationals of Argentina, Canada, the Netherlands, Australia, Brazil, Denmark, Finland, France, Italy, New Zealand, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine and the United States.

President Vladimir Putin said at an Arctic forum on Thursday that the activists were clearly not pirates but had broken international law, suggesting they might end up facing less severe charges.

The spokesman for the Investigative Committee, Vladimir Markin, said on Thursday that activists ordered held for two months might be released on bail before that period ends if their role is found to have been minor.

Greenpeace has said it was the Russian law enforcement authorities who broke the law by boarding the Arctic Sunrise, and denied the piracy allegations, saying its activists had conducted a peaceful protest.

Oil Spill Fears

"The Russian authorities are trying to scare people who stand up to the oil industry in the Arctic, but this blatant intimidation will not succeed," Naidoo said in a separate statement on Thursday.

Nils Muiznieks, human rights commissioner for the Council of Europe, told Reuters the denial of bail "clearly raises human rights concerns", saying pre-trial detention should be used only in exceptional circumstances when there is no alternative.

He urged Russia, a council member, to abide by standards for protecting the right to free expression and peaceful assembly.

Greenpeace says scientific evidence shows any oil spill from Prirazlomnaya, Russia's first offshore oil platform in the Arctic, would affect more than 3,000 miles of Russia's coastline.

In Bulgaria, police arrested six Greenpeace activists who blocked a Gazprom gas station to protest its Arctic drilling plans. Four of them had chained themselves to fuel pumps and waved banners that read: "Stop Gazprom, Save the Arctic" and "Gazprom = Arctic destruction".

The Prirazlomnaya rig - a crucial part of Russia's effort to tap oil and gas in the Arctic - is slated to start operating by the end of the year and is expected to reach peak production of 6 million tonnes per year (120,000 barrels per day) in 2019.

One of those ordered held for two months was Denis Sinyakov, a freelance photographer who was documenting the protest.

The advocacy group Reporters Without Borders said Sinyakov's detention was an "unacceptable violation of freedom of information," and dozens of journalists and activists protested outside the Investigative Committee headquarters in Moscow.

Originally published by Reuters

Article Tabs

tar sands, tar sands bikeride, carbon emissions, bitumen, The Road to Athabasca, Trans Mountain Pipeline

Through discovery of place, through story, and through personal connection with people along the way, we are journeying 1,100 miles to the tar sands of Alberta – and are asking for your support in our venture.

non-violent drug offenses, Million Dollar Blocks

"I tell you what, I wish instead of spending so much money on [incarcerating people], they'd come fill some of these crater holes behind my house."

kayaktivists, Shell protests, Fennica, Arctic oil drilling

Dozens of kayaktivists took to the water to block Shell's Fennica ice breaker from leaving port, while a group of 13 climbers rappelled off a bridge in Portland, Oregon, with enough supplies to last days if needed.

Samuel DuBose, Ray Tensing, police killings, police brutality, police violence, indicted officers

Prosecutors said officer Ray Tensing “purposely killed” 43-year-old Samuel DuBose, an unarmed black man who was pulled over for a missing front license plate.

Frackanpada, anti-fracking movement, fracking bans, anti-fracking camp, fracking resistance, Fracking Ez, Basque anti-fracking movement

“This is the first time fracking activists have got together on this scale internationally – from Kurdistan to Brazil, from Ukraine to Portugal and Algeria," says Catriona of Ireland, who attended the recent Frackanpada.

bank bailouts, fraudulent bank practices, mortgage backed securities, illegal foreclosures, Lanny Breuer, Eric Holder, FDIC, securitized loans, due process, whistleblowers, robosigning, mortgage fraud, revolving door

"The system is largely gamed, broken and corrupted by money, influence peddling and a revolving door."

Posted 5 days 20 hours ago
Black Lives Matter, pepper spray cops, Cleveland police incidents, police brutality, police violence, Ferguson protests, Baltimore protests

The incident occurred Sunday during protests against the arrest of a 14-year-old.

Posted 4 days 20 hours ago
Frackanpada, anti-fracking movement, fracking bans, anti-fracking camp, fracking resistance, Fracking Ez, Basque anti-fracking movement

“This is the first time fracking activists have got together on this scale internationally – from Kurdistan to Brazil, from Ukraine to Portugal and Algeria," says Catriona of Ireland, who attended the recent Frackanpada.

Posted 2 days 19 hours ago
Black Lives Matter, racial injustice, economic injustice, Tia Oso, Patrisse Cullors, white supremacy, Ku Klux Klan, #BernieSoBlack

The recent Black Lives Matter protest at the Netroots Nation conference was a teachable moment for everyone – forcing progressives to pick a side as they shape next year's electoral agenda.

Posted 5 days 20 hours ago

Being sick and having nowhere to turn is terrorizing far too many Americans – as medical fraud, huge price markups and pharmaceutical copyright laws are contributing to growing illnesses and early death.

Posted 3 days 19 hours ago
Endangered Species Act, animal protections, Federal Land Freedom Act, Endangered Species Management Self-Determination Act, National Defense Authorization Act, Common Sense in Species Protection Act, Clean Energy Act

A spate of bills attached with riders are moving through Congress that would dismantle the historic law by transferring authority from the federal level to the states – inaugurating an era of unrestrained development.

Greek debt crisis, Troika, Greek anti-austerity movement, IMF, austerity policies

Having spent the last week in Athens talking to ordinary citizens, young and old, as well as current and past officials, I’ve come to the view that this is about far more than just Greece and the euro.

tar sands, tar sands bikeride, carbon emissions, bitumen, The Road to Athabasca, Trans Mountain Pipeline

Through discovery of place, through story, and through personal connection with people along the way, we are journeying 1,100 miles to the tar sands of Alberta – and are asking for your support in our venture.

Being sick and having nowhere to turn is terrorizing far too many Americans – as medical fraud, huge price markups and pharmaceutical copyright laws are contributing to growing illnesses and early death.

Black Lives Matter, Department of Homeland Security, DHS National Operations Center, First Amendment rights, Michael Brown, Freddie Gray, Ferguson protests, Baltimore protests, Black Panthers

The reports confirm social media surveillance of the movement and related events in Ferguson, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., and New York – including watching over vigils, parades and other benign gatherings.

Sign Up