Russia Hits Greenpeace Activists With Piracy Charges

Could face 15 years in jail; more activists to be charged

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted Oct 2, 2013 6:49 AM CDT | Updated Oct 2, 2013 7:33 AM CDT

(Newser) – Greenpeace said today that five of its activists who were detained after protesting at a Russian oil platform have been charged with piracy and could face up to 15 years in prison if found guilty. The environmental group said in a statement that activists from Brazil, Britain, Finland, and Sweden as well as a British videographer have been formally charged with piracy, and that more activists are expected to be formally charged soon. The activists have been in custody in the northern city of Murmansk since last week.

The Russian Coast Guard seized a Greenpeace ship and all 30 people from 18 countries on board following the Sept. 18 protest at an offshore platform in the Arctic owned by Russian state-controlled energy giant Gazprom. The investigators said the Greenpeace ship, the Arctic Sunrise, had violated the 500-yard security zone around the platform and that it was carrying equipment whose purpose was still unclear. Greenpeace has said its ship stayed out of this zone but its inflatable boats used by activists to reach the platform and then scale it posed no danger.

The Greenpeace ship, the Arctic Sunrise, right, is anchored side by side with the Russian Coast Guard Ship in the Kolskii gulf, near Murmansk, Russia on Monday, Sept. 30, 2013.
The Greenpeace ship, the Arctic Sunrise, right, is anchored side by side with the Russian Coast Guard Ship in the Kolskii gulf, near Murmansk, Russia on Monday, Sept. 30, 2013.   (Dmitri Sharomov)
The Greenpeace ship, the Arctic Sunrise, is being searched by FSB (Federal Security Service) staff in the Kolskii gulf, near Murmansk, Russia on Monday, Sept. 30, 2013.
The Greenpeace ship, the Arctic Sunrise, is being searched by FSB (Federal Security Service) staff in the Kolskii gulf, near Murmansk, Russia on Monday, Sept. 30, 2013.   (Dmitri Sharomov)
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