Russian Greenpeace activists protested in front of the Japanese Embassy in Moscow on Friday to support two Japanese colleagues arrested over a whale meat scandal.
The activists are demanding a fair trial for Japanese Greenpeace campaigners Junichi Sato and Toru Suzuki, who are due to stand trial on Monday for theft and trespass.
In May 2008, Sato and Suzuki tracked and intercepted a 23 kg parcel of whale meat sent by the crew of a whaling factory ship Nisshin Maru in northern Japan, to prove the illegal sale of the meat.
Tokyo prosecutors opened an investigation, but 23 days later the two activists were arrested and the probe into embezzlement of whale meat they prompted was dropped.
A United Nations Human Rights Committee's Working Group on Arbitrary Detention says Japan has breached the human rights of the two activists, saying the pair, which Greenpeace calls the Tokyo Two, were jailed without charge after being arrested in 2008.
If Sato and Suzuki are found guilty, they could face up to 10 years in prison.
Rallies and protest were being held around the world on Friday to demand that Sato and Suzuki receive a fair trial.
Although commercial whaling has been illegal since 1986, Japan continues to hunt the creatures for "scientific research," with much of the meat sold in shops and restaurants.
MOSCOW, February 12 (RIA Novosti)