Russia to Charge Greenpeace Activists with Piracy Over Oil Rig Protest
From The Guardian
By Shaun Walker
Russia has opened a criminal case against Greenpeace activists who boarded an Arctic oil rig belonging to energy giant Gazprom, and says it plans to charge them all with piracy, regardless of their nationality. If convicted, they could face up to 15 years in a Russian prison.
The Greenpeace boat Arctic Sunrise was apprehended last Thursday in what the environmental organisation says were international waters, near the Prirazlomnaya rig in the Pechora Sea. Russian coastguards stormed the boat after activists attempted to climb aboard the rig to stop its operations, descending from helicopters on ropes and rounding up the activists with knives and guns.
Greenpeace lost contact with those on board the ship immediately after it was seized. Russian authorities said they were towing the ship back to the Arctic port of Murmansk using a coastguard vessel, as the captain of the Arctic Sunrise refused to carry out orders to turn back the ship. The ship anchored on Tuesday near Mishukovo, just north of Murmansk.
Maria Favorskaya, a Greenpeace representative in Murmansk, said the organisation and its lawyers had been kept in the dark about the charges and havd not received any documentation.
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