News / Europe

Detained Greenpeace Activists Leave Russia After Receiving Amnesty

  • Greenpeace International activist Captain Peter Willcox of the U.S. leaves the departure lounge at St. Petersburg airport, St. Petersburg, Russia, Dec. 27, 2013.
  • Greenpeace activists Iain Rogers (L), Anthony Perrett (2nd L), Alexandra Harris (2nd R), Phillip Ball (R) and video cameraman Kieron Bryan (C) pose for photographers after arriving at St. Pancras station in central London, England, Dec. 27, 2013.
  • Greenpeace employee Daphane Christelis (L) greets Greenpeace activist Phillip Ball as he arrives at St. Pancras station in central London, England, Dec. 27, 2013.
  • Anthony Perrett, an activist and one of the 30 Greenpeace crew arrested in the Russian Arctic, talks to the media after he arrives back in London, England, Dec. 27, 2013.
  • Greenpeace International activist Faiza Oulahsen of the Netherlands arrives at St. Petersburg airport to catch a flight after receiving her exit visa from the Federal Migration Service, St. Petersburg, Russia, Dec. 27, 2013.
  • Video cameraman Kieron Bryan (2nd R) poses for a photograph with his mother Ann (2nd L), father Andy (L) and brother Russel after arriving at St. Pancras station in central London, England, Dec. 27, 2013.
  • Greenpeace activist Alexandra Harris, who was one of the 30 crew arrested by Russian authorities, speaks to the media after arriving in London, England, Dec. 27, 2013.
  • Video cameraman Kieron Bryan hugs his mother Ann after arriving at St. Pancras station in central London, England, Dec. 27, 2013.
  • Greenpeace International activist Mannes Ubels of Netherlands celebrates getting permission to leave Russia, near the Federal Migration Service, St.Petersburg, Russia, Dec. 26, 2013.
Russia Releases Greenpeace Activists
VOA News
Six Greenpeace activists five Britons and one Canadian have left Russia after being granted amnesty on charges of hooliganism.
 
The activists left Russia on Friday, after more than two months in detention in connection with a September protest at a Russian oil rig in the Arctic Sea.

"It's over," Briton Alex Harris told reporters. "We're finally, truly free." 
 
The first of the 30 people detained in that September 19 protest was released Thursday. Swedish citizen Dima Litvinov said after his release that he did not regret speaking out or being arrested.
 
The rest of the activists are set to be released from detention in St. Petersburg in the coming days. Russia dropped charges against the activists earlier this week under heavy pressure from Western nations. 
 
Critics say dropping the charges is an attempt by Russia to improve its public image ahead of the winter Olympic Games to be held in February in the Russian resort city of Sochi.
 
The Russian government has released a number of high-profile prisoners in the past week, including oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky and the last two jailed members of the Pussy Riot band.  
 
Greenpeace says crew members of its ship Arctic Sunrise had been peacefully protesting at a Russian oil rig when they were arrested. The protest was aimed at drawing attention to the environmental threat of oil drilling. 
 
The 28 Greenpeace activists and two freelance journalists were initially charged with piracy. The charges were later downgraded to hooliganism, which carries a potential 7-year prison sentence.

"Thanks for having us, you know, St. Petersburg is a beautiful, wonderful city," said released activist Briton Anthony Perrett. "We are still very much concerned about invasive drilling in the Arctic. the campaign won't stop, we'll take a breather, but the ultimate goal is to stop drilling in the Arctic, so we are going to carry on.''

You May Like

ASEAN Ministers Set to Push for South China Sea Agreements

According to documents obtained by VOA Khmer, ministers will stand up for 'freedom of navigation, unimpeded lawful maritime commerce, trade and over flight' More

Puerto Rico Defaults on $58M Debt Payment

Payment was due Saturday, default is first in country's 117 years as a United States possession More

Turkish Public Fears Jihadists More Than Kurds

Turkey facing twin threats of terrorism by Islamic State and PKK Kurdish separatists, says President Erdogan’s ruling AK Party More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs