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Amnesty International Calls on Russian Government to Drop Charges Immediately

Fox News is reporting that all crew members of the Greenpeace Vessel Arctic Sunrise have now been charged with piracy for their protest against Arctic drilling by Gazpron, a major Russian oil company (see EarthDesk, October 2).

From Fox:

Russian investigators say they have charged the entire crew of a Greenpeace ship with piracy for a protest at a Russian oil platform in the Arctic.

The Investigative Committee said in a statement that the charge, which can result in a 15-year prison term upon conviction, was filed Thursday against 16 members of the crew, including a prominent Russian freelance photographer.

The crew’s other 14 members were similarly charged the day before.

Amnesty International has formally protested the action by the Russian government. In a statement, John Dalhuisen, Europe and Central Asia Programme Director at Amnesty International said:

These absurd piracy charges are completely unfounded against activists who appear to have been engaged in peaceful protest. They make a mockery of the Russian justice system and should be dropped immediately. The Russian authorities have clearly decided to make an example of the Greenpeace activists in order to discourage future protests of this kind. Sadly this is consistent with the Russian authorities’ attitude to protest more broadly.

Greenpeace is providing regular updates here.