Speaking to Voice of Russia radio, the chairman of the Kremlin’s Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights and adviser to Putin, Mikhail Fedotov, said that the ‘Arctic 30’ would be pardoned under the amnesty.
“The Arctic Sunrise crew will be eligible for this amnesty. Article 213 of the criminal code is included in the amnesty,” he said.
However, Greenpeace said it believes that the amnesty does not apply in their case.
“In its present form, the proposal would apply only to people who have either been convicted of hooliganism, or people who are on trial and will be convicted within the six-month period after the amnesty decree is adopted,” the group said.
Greenpeace International lawyer Daniel Simons said that “as it stands the amnesty text would not include the ‘Arctic 30’, but it very nearly does”.
“The Duma would only have to make a relatively minor amendment to the text and include people charged with hooliganism whose trial has not yet been scheduled. Then the ‘Arctic 30’ could go home,” he added.
The special measure put forward to parliament by Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier this week to mark the 20th anniversary of the Russian constitution proposed freeing:
socially vulnerable offenders such as minors, the elderly and people with disabilities
offenders from Russian state forces like the police, army and prison guards
people involved in the cleanup after the Chernobyl disaster
and those accused or convicted of three kinds of offences: hooliganism; rioting or incitement to rioting; and certain traffic offences.
The uncertainty stems from how suspects are to be treated under the amnesty, which is expected to run for six months once it is passed by parliament.
It is not clear if crimes under investigation at the time of the amnesty are included.
A sub-clause in the draft resolution says that the courts can free anyone whose case is pending at the time of the amnesty, but a trial date has not been set for the ‘Arctic 30’, Greenpeace said.
Several Russian media outlets reported earlier in the week that the inclusion of the hooliganism offence in the proposed amnesty was directly linked to the cases of the ‘Arctic 30’ and Pussy Riot, among others.