Greenpeace says five activists held in Russia have been charged with piracy over a recent protest against the country’s first offshore oil rig in the Arctic.
The environmental group has described the charges, punishable by up to 15 years in prison, as “absurd”.
On September 18 Russian authorities detained about 30 activists after several tried to scale the Gazprom platform, protesting that its exploratory drilling is an ecological danger.
According to the environmentalists, the five who have been charged include a Brazilian woman, Ana Paula Alminhana Maciel, a Swedish-American man of Russian origin, Dmitri Litvinov, British cameraman Kieron Bryan, a Finnish woman, Sini Saarela, and a Russian man, Roman Dolgov .
Greenpeace says it intends to launch its own legal action against investigators and prosecutors, alleging several irregularities.
After the arrests President Putin said the activists were “not pirates” but had broken international law.