Greenpeace activists threatened to 7 years in prison for hooliganism. Support them!
Russia, action created 4.10.2013
A group of thirty Greenpeace activists, who had been peacefully protesting against Arctic oil drilling, were detained by Russian security forces on 19 September 2013. All the activists were later accused of “piracy”, which has a penalty up to 15 years in prison under the Russian law. Amnesty International believes that the charges leveled against the activists are inappropriate and should be dropped.
Some 30 Greenpeace activists were detained by Russian security forces who boarded the group's ship, the "Arctic Sunrise", late last Thursday. According to the activists, the security officials were armed with guns which they fired into the air and water, as well as knives which they used to slash inflatable boats. They rounded up the ship's crew at gunpoint and reportedly smashed up the radio room which is used for communications.
The activists had been protesting against Arctic drilling near Prirazlomnaya, a drilling platform in the Pechora Sea, close to the Novaya Zemlya archipelago off Russia’s northern coast.
Russia’s Investigative Committee, a state agency responsible for the investigation of serious crimes, said in a statement that it had opened a piracy investigation against the detained activists. International law defines piracy as illegal acts of violence or detention, or raids committed for private gain.
“There’s very little question that unarmed Greenpeace activists are not pirates,” said John Dalhuisen, Europe and Central Asia Programme Director at Amnesty International. “Charges of piracy are manifestly unfounded in this case – having no basis in law or reality – and it’s profoundly damaging to level such serious charges so carelessly. The Greenpeace activists must be released on a reasonable bail and given full access to defence lawyers, pending any possible trial.”
The “hooliganism” charge was also brought against members of the Russian punk band Pussy Riot last year. Amnesty International also campaigned against the application of the charge in their case and considers two of the women serving a two-year prison sentence in a labour camp to be prisoners of conscience.