Amsterdam – Greenpeace International understands from diplomatic sources that the thirty men and women detained by Russia following a peaceful protest against an Arctic oil platform are being moved from a detention center in Murmansk to a jail in St Petersburg.
Lawyers for Greenpeace are not aware of the reasons for the move. Greenpeace International executive director Kumi Naidoo said:
“The detainees shouldn’t be in jail at all. They should be free to join their families and restart their lives. St Petersburg has some daylight in the winter months, unlike Murmansk. Families and consular officials will now find it easier to visit the thirty. But there is no guarantee that conditions inside the new detention centre will be any better than in Murmansk. In fact, they could be worse. There is no justification whatsoever to keep the Arctic 30 in any prison for a day longer. They are prisoners of conscience who acted out of a determination to protect us all, and they should be free.”
Greenpeace today released photographs from inside the Murmansk detention centre where the detainees have been held for over a month. The pictures show the details of the small cells and the conditions the thirty have endured (1).
Prosecuting authorities in Russia were under fire today after it was revealed that they have failed to lift charges of piracy against the Arctic 30, despite pledging to do so.
Russia’s powerful Investigative Committee announced last week that the piracy charges – which carry a 15-year jail sentence – would be replaced with charges of hooliganism. But when the thirty detainees were brought before the Committee over the course of this week, the piracy charge was not withdrawn. Instead each of them was simply served with the additional charge of hooliganism.
They now stand accused of both offences, which carry a maximum sentence of 15 and 7 years, respectively.