News / Europe

    Russia Grants Bail to Greenpeace Captain, Others

    FILE - Greenpeace activists hold portraits of those detained on the boat Arctic Sunrise during a rally in Moscow, Russia.
    FILE - Greenpeace activists hold portraits of those detained on the boat Arctic Sunrise during a rally in Moscow, Russia.
    Reuters
    Six more Greenpeace activists arrested by Russian coast guards during a protest against Arctic oil drilling were granted bail on Wednesday, including the U.S. captain of their ship, in a further sign of an easing of their treatment.
     
    “I'm going to enjoy the fact that I can walk more than just three yards in the cell, and some fresh air,” Faiza Oulahsen, a Dutch citizen, said from the courtroom cage where she had followed the proceedings.
     
    “I'm going to have a good meal, and I'm going to call my family because I haven't spoken to them in more than two months.”
     
    Eighteen of the 30 people detained on Sept. 18 have now been granted bail this week following criticism of President Vladimir Putin over what was widely seen in the West as their harsh treatment. All previous bail requests had been refused.
     
    None of those in pre-trial detention have their passports, and Greenpeace said it was not clear how much their movement would be restricted.
     
    One of the 30 had his detention extended by three months on Monday, and all of those aboard the Arctic Sunrise icebreaker during the protest at a Russian oil rig could still face seven-year jail terms on hooliganism charges.
     
    Asked whether the decision to grant him bail pleased him, Captain Peter Willcox, looking tired and wearing a white and purple checkered shirt, said: “Very, very much.”
     
    He was then led out of the courtroom in handcuffs by four policemen.
     
    Willcox, 60, has been a Greenpeace activist for more than 30 years and was the skipper of the environmental advocacy group's ship Rainbow Warrior when it was blown up and sunk by the French secret service in 1985.
     
    Oil platform
     
    Also granted bail in the city of St. Petersburg, besides Oulahsen, were two Britons, Alexandra Harris and Kieron Bryan, and Anne Mie Roer Jensen from Denmark, Greenpeace said. Bail was set at 2 million roubles ($61,100).
     
    Of the 19 people who have appeared in court hearings so far this week, only Australian Colin Russell has had his detention extended. Greenpeace says it is baffled by the decision to keep Russell, 59, in custody for three more months.
     
    During the protest, some of the Greenpeace activists tried to scale the Gazprom-owned Prirazlomnaya oil platform in the Pechora Sea. They were halted by armed coastguards.
     
    The arrests unleashed international criticism of Putin, now in his third term as president, and the initial charges of piracy — which carried a 15-year jail term — were dropped.
     
    Greenpeace says the protest was meant to draw attention to the impact of offshore Arctic drilling on the environment.
     
    It says it has already posted bail for nine of those detained but that bureaucratic obstacles had to be resolved before their release, which may not be before the weekend.
     
    Investigators have sought three-month extensions of detention for the activists from 18 countries, but the Kremlin may believe releasing some on bail could ease criticism of Russia, which hosts the Winter Olympics in February.
     
    Although the attitude of the courts may be changing, Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said the president had not discussed the case at his weekly Security Council meeting.
     
    Putin has described the Arctic as important to Russia's economic future and security and Greenpeace has said Russia's treatment of the activists was meant to frighten off campaigners protesting against the exploration of natural resources there.

    You May Like

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    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.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora