Amsterdam-based Greenpeace said on Monday it filed a lawsuit with the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France, to seek compensation and confirmation that the arrest was illegal.
“We think the Arctic 30 were apprehended and detained in flagrant violation of applicable international and Russian laws, and that’s why we have submitted a complaint to the European Court of Human Rights,”lawyer Sergey Golubok, who is acting on behalf of the Arctic 30, said.
“The reaction of the Russian authorities was completely disproportionate to the peaceful protest that took place. These activists tried to shine a light on the risks of Arctic oil drilling, and yet they were met with a response that bore no relation to their actions.”
The activists were initially arrested on charges including hooliganism and piracy and faced prison time over 18 September’s demonstration at the Gazprom Neft Shelf-operated Prirazlomnoye oil platform in the Pechora Sea.
The suit is likely to be the least of Moscow’s worries, however, after the EU and the US have reportedly imposed sanctions on officials from Russia and Ukraine over their role in the Crimea crisis.
But after an international uproar Russia gradually dropped the charges and all the demonstrators were cleared to leave the country late last year.
The thirty were granted an amnesty along with thousands of other Russian prisoners – including former Yukos Oil boss Mikhail Khodorkovsky – by President Vladimir Putin.
Greenpeace said the court has jurisdiction to rule in the case because Russia has ratified the European Convention on Human Rights, the treaty that established the court.