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

Nigeria Incumbent in Tight Spot as Poll Nears

Muhammadu Buhari is running a strong challenge to Goodluck Jonathan, amid a faltering economy and Boko Haram security worries More

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo tells VOA that despite her fame, life is still a struggle as she waits for government's promise of support to arrive More

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

At least seven different indigenous groups in Ratanakiri depend mainly on forest products for their survival, say they face loss of their land, traditional way of life 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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More