Greenpeace says it will appeal after a Russian court jailed a group of activists for protesting at the country’s first offshore oil platform in the Arctic.
Veteran campaigner Pete Wilcox, the American captain of the Greenpeace ship seized by Russia, is one of 22 people placed in pre-trial custody for two months. The group denies claims of piracy, saying Russian officers broke the law by boarding the vessel.
“So the authorities, I think, made a mistake and it is sad to see that they are not admitting it,” Greenpeace lawyer Daniel Simons told a news conference. “As a result, innocent people who were trying to protect the environment for all of us, for Russians and foreigners like myself, are now in prison.”
Some 30 people from 18 countries are being held in all in Murmansk, including Denis Sinyakov, a Russian photographer accompanying the group. If charged with piracy, he and others could face 15 years in jail.
Fellow journalists in Russia have denounced his detention by removing photographs from their websites, amid claims Sinyakov’s arrest is part of a wider crackdown on political dissent in the country.