News / Europe

Russian Court Grants Bail to Greenpeace Protester

Yekaterina Zaspa, one of the 30 people who were arrested over a Greenpeace protest at the Prirazlomnaya oil rig, looks out from a defendants' cage as she attends a court session in St. Petersburg, Nov. 18, 2013.
Yekaterina Zaspa, one of the 30 people who were arrested over a Greenpeace protest at the Prirazlomnaya oil rig, looks out from a defendants' cage as she attends a court session in St. Petersburg, Nov. 18, 2013.
Reuters
A Russian medic among 30 people seized by Russian coastguards during a Greenpeace protest against offshore Arctic oil drilling was granted bail on Monday, signaling some leniency was possible in a case that has drawn criticism abroad.
 
But earlier on Monday, a separate court denied bail to another arrestee in the case, Colin Russell of Australia. He had served as a radio operator on Greenpeace ship, the Arctic Sunrise, that launched the action.
 
The 30 face up to seven years in jail if convicted of hooliganism for the September protest, in which activists tried to scale an offshore oil rig that is crucial to Russia's drive to tap the Arctic's energy resources.
 
The court ruled that Yekaterina Zaspa, a Russian who served as a medic on the Arctic Sunrise but was not among those who tried to climb the Prirazlomnaya rig, could be released on 2 million roubles ($61,300) bail.
 
Courts have repeatedly denied previous bail requests from all 30 people held, and their current term of custody ends on Nov. 24. But the judge at Zaspa's hearing said there were no grounds to extend her arrest for another three months.
 
Zaspa, 37, smiled as she listened to the ruling from a cage in the courtroom. She made no comment as guards led her out.
 
It was not immediately clear why the courts ruled to release Zaspa on bail but to extend the term of custody for Russell, who also did not attempt to scale the rig.
 
“I'm here to defend my innocence. I have not committed a crime,” said Russell, who was led into court in handcuffs and confined to a barred defendant's cage. “I have not lifted a hand in angry manner ever in my life. I have never been violent.”
 
Mixed rulings
 
Rulings in custody hearings for two of the other 28 arrestees were expected later on Monday.
 
“This is of course positive news, but this does not mean Yekaterina's ordeal is in any way over,” Greenpeace representative Mads Christensen said in a statement, noting that she is still charged and could face years in prison.
 
“And of course our beloved friend and colleague Colin did not get bail and is being sent back to a Russian prison cell for a further three months,” he said.
 
Russian coastguards forcibly boarded the Arctic Sunrise following the protest.
 
Greenpeace, which says the protest was peaceful and the charges are unfounded, has been voicing alarm over the rush for the Arctic's energy resources, which the group says threatens the region's pristine and unique environment.
 
It hopes the release of the 30, who represent 18 different nationalities, could be secured on Friday when the Hamburg-based International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea is expected to rule in a case the Netherlands lodged against Russia.
 
But Russia has refused to take part in the case, suggesting it may not adhere to the court's ruling.
 
The 30 arrestees had initially been charged with piracy, which is punishable by up to 15 years in prison. President Vladimir Putin has said they were clearly not pirates but that they violated the law.
 
Western leaders including German Chancellor Angela Merkel has expressed concern to Putin over the case and Western celebrities have voiced support for the activists. Ex-Beatle Paul McCartney has asked Putin to help secure their release.

You May Like

Changing Under Pressure, IS ‘Potent’ as Ever

US intel officials describe Ramadi's fall as concerning, but say it isn't emblematic of larger effort to degrade IS capabilities More

Nigeria Fuel Shortage Shows Fragility of Africa’s Oil Giant

Although it is the largest oil producer in Africa, country has nearly ran out of fuel it needs to power its generators, cars and airplanes over the past week More

Arrested Football Officials Come Mainly From the Americas

US Justice Department alleges defendants participated in 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through corruption of international soccer 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.
3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Cari
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
May 27, 2015 9:31 PM
Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

VOA Blogs