News / Europe

Russia Holds Activists Over Arctic Oil Protest

Wife of photojournalist Denis Sinyakov, Alina, protests at headquarters of Russian Investigative Committee, Moscow, Sept. 26, 2013.
Wife of photojournalist Denis Sinyakov, Alina, protests at headquarters of Russian Investigative Committee, Moscow, Sept. 26, 2013.
Reuters
A Russian court on Thursday ordered 14 Greenpeace activists and a photojournalist to be held in custody for two months pending further investigation over a protest against offshore Arctic oil drilling, drawing criticism from the environmental group.
 
The 15 detainees, who had been among 30 people aboard a Greenpeace ship used to stage the protest at the Prirazlomnaya oil platform, were denied bail by judges in the northern city of Murmansk, Greenpeace and Russian media said.
 
Seven others were ordered held for three days, and eight were still awaiting hearings late on Thursday evening.
 
All 30 were detained last week aboard the icebreaker Arctic Sunrise, which was seized by Russian coast guards after two activists tried to scale the Barents Sea oil rig owned by state-controlled Gazprom on September 18.
 
“We are deeply concerned by the decision of the judge to refuse bail,” Greenpeace Executive Director John Sauven said.
 
Those ordered held for two months included the ship's captain, U.S. national Pete Willcox, as well as activists and crew members from nations including France, New Zealand, Canada, Switzerland, Poland and Russia, Greenpeace said.
 
The federal Investigative Committee has termed the protest an attack and opened a criminal case on suspicion of piracy, which is punishable by up to 15 years in jail. The activists have not been charged.
 
President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that the activists from 18 countries were clearly not pirates but had broken international law, suggesting they might end up facing less severe charges.
 
The spokesman for the Investigative Committee said on Thursday that activists ordered held for two months might be released on bail before that period ends if their role is found to have been minor, the Interfax news agency reported.
 
Greenpeace has said it was the Russian law enforcement authorities who broke the law by boarding the Arctic Sunrise, and denied the piracy allegations, saying its activists had conducted a peaceful protest.
 
Oil spill fears
 
“The Russian authorities are trying to scare people who stand up to the oil industry in the Arctic, but this blatant intimidation will not succeed,” Greenpeace International executive director Kumi Naidoo said in a statement.
 
Nils Muiznieks, human rights commissioner for the Council of Europe, told Reuters the denial of bail “clearly raises human rights concerns”, saying pre-trial detention should be used only in exceptional circumstances when there is no alternative.
 
He urged Russia, a council member, to abide by standards for protecting the right to free expression and peaceful assembly.
 
Greenpeace says scientific evidence shows any oil spill from Prirazlomnaya, Russia's first offshore oil platform in the Arctic, would affect more than 3,000 miles (4,800 km) of Russia's coastline.
 
In Bulgaria, police arrested six Greenpeace activists who blocked a Gazprom gas station to protest its Arctic drilling plans. Four of them had chained themselves to fuel pumps and waved banners that read: “Stop Gazprom, Save the Arctic” and “Gazprom = Arctic destruction.”
 
The Prirazlomnaya rig — a crucial part of Russia's effort to tap oil and gas in the Arctic — is slated to start operating by the end of the year and is expected to reach peak production of 6 million tons per year (120,000 barrels per day) in 2019.
 
Denis Sinyakov, a photographer who was denied bail, said he had covered the protest as a journalist, Greenpeace said.
 
The advocacy group Reporters Without Borders said Sinyakov's detention was an “unacceptable violation of freedom of information,” and dozens of journalists and activists protested outside the Investigative Committee headquarters in Moscow.

You May Like

Video Protests Continue in Ferguson, Spread to Other US Cities

Missouri officials say deployment of more than 2,000 National Guard soldiers helps curb second night of rampant arson and looting in Midwestern town More

Video Ebola, Crackdown on Illegals Hit Business in Guangzhou

Chinese city has largest community of Africans in Asia More

Video Legendary Lebanese Actress, Singer Sabah Dies at 87

Music and film diva, affectionately called 'Sabbouha' by millions of her fans, performed at Carnegie Hall in New York, Royal Albert Hall in London, Olympia in Paris, Sydney Opera House in Sydney 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.
Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Changei
X
November 24, 2014 10:09 PM
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid