MOSCOW, October 9 (RIA Novosti/RAPSI) – The head of environmental campaign group Greenpeace has offered Wednesday to move to Russia in exchange for the release on bail of activists and journalists jailed there last month in a letter to President Vladimir Putin.
Greenpeace International’s executive director Kumi Naidoo wrote in the letter that he was prepared to act as a guarantor for the good conduct of the activists.
“I would come equipped only as the representative of millions of people around the world, many of them Russian, whose fervent wish is to see an early end to the continued imprisonment of the thirty brave and peaceful men and women held in Murmansk,” Naidoo wrote.
Greenpeace’s icebreaker, Arctic Sunrise, was seized by border guards in September after several activists tried to scale an oil rig operated by an affiliate of state-run energy giant Gazprom in the northern Pechora Sea, to protest against what the group claims is the risk of massive damage to the Arctic environment from Russia’s nascent offshore drilling program there.
The Dutch-registered ship was towed to Murmansk, where all 30 people on board were charged with piracy, which in Russia is punishable by up to 15 years in prison, and put in pretrial detention.
Defense lawyers for four foreign detainees said Wednesday that they have filed appeals against pretrial detention.
The hearing dates for the appeals of British citizens Philip Ball and Kieron Bryan, Camila Speziale of Argentina, and Cristian D'Alessandro of Italy have yet to be determined.
The Murmansk Region court has already rejected four appeal bids, including one from Russian Greenpeace activist Roman Dolgov on Wednesday.
The court Tuesday rejected the bail appeals of ship doctor Yekaterina Zaspa, Greenpeace spokesman Andrei Allakhverdov and Denis Sinyakov, a freelance photographer who was covering the ship’s two-month voyage in the Russian Arctic.