A British freelance video journalist, a Russian photojournalist and 28 Greenpeace International activists, including five Britons, who were seized while protesting against Arctic oil drilling have formally been charged with piracy.
The activists scaled Gazprom’s oil rig last month in protest against Russian state-owned energy giant Gazprom’s plans to drill in the Arctic, which led to 30 of them being “held at gunpoint” (pictured). The activists and freelance journalists, if convicted, could face a maximum sentence of 15 years in a Russian jail.
Lawyers acting on behalf of Greenpeace International have lodged formal appeals in the Murmansk Lenin district against the continued detention of the ‘Arctic 30’.
Kumi Naidoo, Greenpeace International Executive Director said: “Our activists have been charged with a crime that did not happen, they are accused of an imaginary offence. There can be no doubt about why the charge of piracy has been brought and the legal hammer wielded. An effort is underway to intimidate us but our peaceful passionate campaign against Gazprom and all other Arctic drillers will not be silenced.
“I call on people across the world to stand with us against Gazprom and all oil companies who want to drill in the Arctic, join us in this fight against bullies of the very worst kind.”
Greenpeace claims more than 750,000 people have written to Russian embassies worldwide demanding the release of the activists and this weekend tens of thousands of people are to part in an “emergency global day of solidarity”, with events planned in 45 countries across the world.