Russian federal investigators have dropped piracy charges against the people involved in the Greenpeace protest over Arctic oil drilling. However, the 30 people will face the lesser charge of hooliganism. Under Russian law the piracy charge comes with a 12 year prison sentence while hooliganism has a seven year maximum sentence.
The charges arise from a peaceful protest against a Gazprom oil platform in the Pechora Sea on September 19.
Russian Greenpeace spokesman Vladimir Chuprov said in a statement, “we will contest the trumped-up charge of hooliganism as strongly as we contested the piracy allegations….They are both fantasy charges that bear no relation to reality.”
Despite Greenpeace’s 42 year peaceful history, the Russian Investigative Committee have threatened the activists with the absurd charge of violence against authorities. Such a charge is punishable by up to 10 years in jail.
People all around the world have been calling on Russia to release the so called Arctic 30. Last week, 11 Nobel Peace Prize laureates, including South African anti-apartheid campaigner Desmond Tutu, published an open letter in which they made a similar request.
© 2013, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.
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