Arctic 30 ‘cannot leave Russia’

Greenpeace13 December 2013, News Wires – Thirty Greenpeace protesters are facing the prospect of not being allowed to leave Russia following their release on bail over an Arctic drilling campaign against Gazprom.

The environmental watchdog has accused Russia of being in breach of a ruling by an international arbitration court, but is still hopeful the 28 activists and two freelance journalists will be granted an amnesty by President Vladimir Putin.

All of the so-called Arctic 30 remain in St Petersburg after they were granted bail following their arrest over an attempt to board a Gazprom Neft Shelf platform in the Pechora Sea in September.

Russia’s Investigative Committee has now written to one of those charged, Dane Anne Mie Jensen, indicating that she is not free to leave Russia.

“Lawyers for Greenpeace expect all of the non-Russian defendants to be treated in the same way by the authorities, meaning they would now be forced to stay in St Petersburg for Christmas and possibly well beyond,” the greens groups said on Friday.

The Federal Migration Service has already indicated to Greenpeace that it will not issue visas to non-Russians amongst the 30 until given the say-so by the Investigative Committee.

A ruling last month by the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea in Hamburg ordered Russia to release the 30 and their vessel, Arctic Sunrise, on payment of a €3.6 million ($4.95 million) bond. This bond was posted by the Netherlands government, as the vessel is Netherlands-flagged.

Greenpeace International legal counsel Daniel Simons said:

The group’s legal counsel Daniel Simons said: “The Russian Federation is now in clear breach of a binding order of an international tribunal.

“As … Putin stated in his famous open letter to the American people on Syria: ‘The law is still the law, and we must follow it whether we like it or not.’ In his State of the Nation speech yesterday in Moscow, he added: ‘We try not to lecture anyone but promote international law.’

“It’s time for the authorities to act in that spirit and allow the Arctic 30 to go home to their families immediately.”

Peter Wilcox, captain of the Arctic Sunrise, said: “I am ready to go home to my family. We were seized in international waters and brought to Russia against our will, then charged with a crime we didn’t commit and kept in jail for two months.

“This is either a mistake and we’re caught in a vicious bureaucratic circle, or it’s a deliberate snub against international law. Either way this is a farce.”

Putin is due to grant an amnesty to a large amount of people caught in Russia’s legal system. Although a draft of the decree does not include the Arctic 30, they are expected to be added in an amendment when it goes to the Duma.

– Upstream

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