Russia to up charges against Greenpeace. Russian authorities say that some of the 30 activists arrested for trying to board an oil platform will face drug offenses in addition to piracy charges. By Fred Weir ,Correspondent / October 9, 2013 Greenpeace activists install banners on the front wall of Gazprom headquarters in Paris today. The protest is against Gazprom’s plans to drill for oil in the Arctic, and also to demand the release of the 28 Greenpeace activists and two journalists detained in Russia. Jacky Naegelen/Reuters Enlarge Moscow It increasingly appears that Russia intends to make a very harsh example of 30 Greenpeace activists arrested last month for attempting to hang an environmental banner on a huge offshore oil drilling platform in the Barents Sea that’s owned by the state corporation Gazprom -Neft. The Christian Science Monitor Weekly Digital Edition The Kremlin’s Investigative Committee, Russia’s supreme police body, suggested in a statement Wednesday that in addition to facing piracy charges, which carry a maximum 15 year prison sentence, some activists may also be charged with drug offenses. Investigators searching the captured Greenpeace ship, the Arctic Sunrise, say they have found unspecified articles of “dual purpose” and opiate-based narcotics. RECOMMENDED: Do you know anything about Russia? A quiz. “It is clear that a number of defendants will also be charged with other serious crimes,” the statement quotes Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin as saying. The 30 people arrested aboard the Greenpeace ship in Russia’s economic zone but not in legal territorial waters on Sept. 19 include people from 18 different countries, at least one of whom is a journalist . The issue has led to an escalating diplomatic spat between Russia and the Netherlands over the activities of the Dutch-flagged Arctic Sunrise, with Russia claiming the Dutch government failed to “intervene in the vessel’s illegal activities.” For its part, the Netherlands has threatened to contest the “illegal” Russian seizure of the ship and its crew at the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea in Hamburg. The Russo-Dutch acrimony reached a peak Tuesday after Moscow demanded an explanation for the weekend arrest and alleged mistreatment of a Russian diplomat in the Netherlands, Dmitry Borodin, who was reportedly suspected by Dutch police of child abuse.
Credit: Reuters/Stringer MOSCOW | Tue Oct 8, 2013 11:50am EDT MOSCOW (Reuters) – A Russian court denied bail on Tuesday to three of 30 people arrested on piracy charges following a protest by environmental group Greenpeace against offshore oil drilling in the Arctic. All 30 face up to 15 years in jail if convicted for the protest in which a Greenpeace ship approached an oil platform owned by Gazprom, and have appealed against keeping them in custody through late November for further investigation. The court in the northern port city of Murmansk rejected the appeals filed by activist Andrei Allakhverdov, ship’s doctor Yekaterina Zaspa and Denis Sinyakov, a freelance photographer who documented the protest, Greenpeace said. All three are Russian. Hearings for the other 27, nationals of 18 countries – including activists who tried to scale the oil platform during the protest – are expected later this week. Greenpeace says the piracy charges against the activists and crew members are absurd and unfounded and that the conditions of detention have in some cases violated their rights. “They are now prisoners of conscience, and as such they are the responsibility of the world,” said Kumi Naidoo, head of Greenpeace International. The Netherlands launched legal proceedings against Russia on Friday, saying it had unlawfully detained the activists and others on the Dutch-registered icebreaker Arctic Sunrise. After the protest, Russian coastguard officers forcibly boarded and seized control of the ship. It was then towed to Murmansk and Russia has denied Greenpeace’s assertions that the ship had been in international waters when it was seized. (Writing by Gabriela Baczynska; Editing by Steve Gutterman and Angus MacSwan)