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

Pundits Split Over Long-Term US Role in Afghanistan

Security pact remains condition for American presence beyond 2014; deadline criticized More

US Eyes Islamic State Threat

Officials warn that IS could pose a threat to US homeland More

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Moscow says Russian troops crossed into Ukrainian territory by mistake 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.
Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocksi
X
George Putic
August 25, 2014 4:00 PM
How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.
Video

Video Peace Returns to Ferguson as Community Tries to Heal

Thousands of people nationwide are expected to attend funeral services Monday in the U.S. Midwestern city of St. Louis, Missouri, for Michael Brown, the unarmed African-American teenager who was fatally shot by a white police officer August 9 in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. The shooting touched off days of violent demonstrations there, resulting in more than 100 arrests. VOA's Chris Simkins reports from Ferguson where the community is trying to move on after weeks of racial tension.
Video

Video Meeting in Minsk May Hinge on Putin Story

The presidents of Russia and Ukraine are expected to meet face-to-face Tuesday in Minsk, along with European leaders, for talks on the situation in Ukraine. Political analysts say the much welcomed dialogue could help bring an end to months of deadly clashes between pro-Russia separatists and Ukrainian forces in the country's southeast. But much depends on the actions of one man, Russian President Vladimir Putin. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Artists Shun Russia's Profanity Law

Russia in July enacted a law threatening fines for publicly displayed profanity in media, films, literature, music and theater. The restriction, the toughest since the Soviet era, aims to protect the Russian language and culture and has been welcomed by those who say cursing is getting out of control. But many artists reject the move as a patronizing and ineffective act of censorship in line with a string of conservative morality laws. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video British Fighters on Frontline of ISIS Information War

Security services are racing to identify the Islamic State militant who beheaded U.S. journalist James Foley in Syria. The murderer spoke English on camera with a British accent. It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for the Islamic State, also called ISIL or ISIS, alongside thousands of other foreign jihadists. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from the center of the investigation in London.

AppleAndroid