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 Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the US are seeing gas prices dip below $3 a gallon More

Afghan Women's Soccer Team Building for the Future

A four-team female league was recently set up in Kabul; It will help identify players for the national team More

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

Pyongyang threatens nuclear test as joint US, S. Korean exercises show forces’ capabilities 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.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
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 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 Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
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 Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
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.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid