News / Europe

Ex-Beatle Asks Putin to Free Greenpeace Activists

Singer Paul McCartney gestures to audience after playing a surprise mini-concert in New York's Times Square, Oct. 10, 2013.
Singer Paul McCartney gestures to audience after playing a surprise mini-concert in New York's Times Square, Oct. 10, 2013.
TEXT SIZE - +
Reuters
— Former Beatle Paul McCartney said on Thursday he had written to President Vladimir Putin to enlist his help in securing the release of a group of Greenpeace activists detained in Russia.
 
Twenty-eight activists and two journalists face up to seven years in jail over a protest against offshore drilling in the Arctic in which some members of the environmental group tried to scale a Russian oil rig.
 
"It would be great if this misunderstanding could be resolved and the protesters can be home with their families in time for Christmas. We live in hope," McCartney wrote on his website.
 
He said Putin, whom he met when he first performed in Moscow in 2003, had not replied to the Oct. 14 letter, although he said Russia's ambassador to London responded by saying the group's plight was not properly represented by the media.
 
"Vladimir, millions of people in dozens of countries would be hugely grateful if you were to intervene to bring about an end to this affair," McCartney wrote in the letter.
 
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said he only heard of the letter from media reports but had not received it, according to the state-run Itar-Tass news agency.
 
The Prirazlomnaya oil rig which the Greenpeace activists tried to scale on Sept. 18 is owned by state energy giant Gazprom and is at the heart of a Kremlin drive to tap the Arctic's natural resources and expand Russia's economy.
 
Quoting from the Beatles' song "Back in the USSR," which he composed 45 years ago, McCartney wrote: "That song had one of my favorite Beatles lines in it: 'Been away so long I hardly knew the place, gee it's good to be back home.'"
 
"Could you make that come true for the Greenpeace prisoners?" he asked.
 
Investigators charged the 30 with hooliganism, to replace original charges of piracy, which carry a 15-year jail term. Greenpeace says piracy charges have not been formally dropped and that the 30 are now effectively charged with both.
 
The Netherlands, where Greenpeace has its main headquarters, has asked an international tribunal to order the release of the group from pre-trial detention.
 
McCartney has previously expressed support for the Pussy Riot protest group which performed a "punk prayer" in a Moscow cathedral last year against Putin's ties with the Russian Orthodox Church.
 
Appeals for leniency failed to help them escape a two-year jail sentence.
 
Critics accuse Putin of using the courts to persecute his opponents, a charge the Kremlin denies.

You May Like

Algerians Vote in Presidential Election

There were few media reports of protests and clashes around the country, but so far no significant violence More

Sharks More Evolved than Previously Thought

The discovery could “profoundly affect our understanding of evolutionary history” More

Pakistan Military Asked to Protect Polio Workers

Request comes as authorities say a Taliban ban on vaccinations in 2012 and deadly attacks on anti-polio teams have prevented thousands of children from getting inoculated More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid