Greenpeace activists jailed indefinitely

Press release - 12 June, 2002

Two Greenpeace activists, who have been held in isolation in police cells for eight days in Sweden, following a peaceful

protest against an oil dumping vessel, have been told they will be kept in jail until trial. No date has been yet been set.

The two women Liz Rickman, a fifty year old doctor with dual Australian and British nationality and Kristina Petersen, a 27 year old student from Germany have still

not been charged with any crime, but have been detained on suspicion of aggravated trespass. (1)

Both women took part in a peaceful protest to protect the Baltic Sea from a vessel which had been caught dumping oil into the Baltic Sea, which is illegal under

Swedish law.(2) Yet while the owners and operators of the vessel walked free from court, both Liz and Kristina have spent the last week in police cells and today

were told they would remain there until a trial, though no date would be given for the court case.

“This is a violation not just of their civil rights, but also their human rights,”said Greenpeace International Executive Director, Gerd Leipold. “It is shocking that such a

normally liberal country as Sweden, with a good track record on environmental issues should adopt such a brutal approach to peaceful protestors who were

highlighting environmental crimes.”Leipold added.

The women are being held in wholly inadequate conditions in police holding cells that are designed for short term or overnight detention, not longer periods. They

have been refused access to embassy officials, legal representation of their choosing or Greenpeace

representatives. During initial proceedings the women were brought before the magistrate separately behind closed doors. Greenpeace believes there have been a

number of breaches of the European Court of Human rights Act through the treatment of these two women, including degrading treatment, the denial of their right to

legal counsel of their choosing, and the possibility of being prosecuted because of their beliefs.

Previous court cases involving other Greenpeace activists in Sweden facing aggravated trespass charges have resulted in no more than a fine being imposed. None

has ever been imprisoned. The prosecutor claims both women are a flight risk, though no Greenpeace activist world-wide has ever failed to appear in court to face

charges. An appeal against the ruling will be lodged with the Supreme court in the morning.

CONTACT:

Per Stenbeck, Secretary General of Greenpeace Nordic, +46 705 136 110

Dan Hindsgaul, Communications director, Greenpeace Nordic:+ 45 2810 9021

Sara Holden, Chief media officer, Greenpeace International: + 31 615 007 406

Photos and video are available of both activists and the protest which prompted their arrest.

NOTES:

1) Both activists are being detained in Norrköping, Sweden. They were arrested on Tuesday, June 4 and charges were brought against them by the public

prosecutor for “aggravated trespass.” This can carry up to 2 years prison sentence. Under Swedish law, detention is permissible for this charge if the suspects pose a

risk of flight.

2) The protest was against the M/S Fagervik, a ship flagged in the Isle of Man and owned by a German company, which was caught in February 2001, releasing a

large amount of oil into the Baltic Sea east of the Swedish coastal town of Västervik. All releases of oil into the Baltic Sea are forbidden according to Swedish law

since the Baltic is particularly sensitive to oil releases and is also one of the most polluted sea areas in the world. At the trial in the Norrköping municipal court in

December 2001 the owner of the ship, the captain and the chief engineer were acquitted since the prosecutor had not been able to show that the release was

deliberate or due to negligence.

letter for the Swedish ambassador to your country

Your Excellency,

I am writing this letter to you in order to protest against the indefinite detention in isolation in Norrköping of two Greenpeace activists following their participation in a

peaceful action against a vessel that released oil into the Baltic.

In February 2001, the M/S Fagervik, a ship flagged in the Isle of Man and owned by a German company, was caught releasing a large amount of oil into the Baltic

Sea east of the Swedish coastal town of Västervik. All releases of oil into the Baltic Sea illegal under Swedish law as the Baltic is particularly sensitive to such oil

releases and is also one of the most polluted seas in the world. At the trial in the Norrköping municipal court in December 2001 the owner of the ship, the captain

and the chief engineer were acquitted after the prosecutor was unable to prove conclusively that the release was deliberate and not due to negligence.

This case illustrates that irresponsible corporate behaviour continues to severely affect the environment, and that the companies who are responsible fail to respond in

an adequate manner. It also shows the inadequacy of legislation against corporate crimes and it is an example of how companies routinely fail to compensate and/or

assist impacted communities, how they evade obligations to clean up or remediate damaged environments, and, by and large, violate human and community rights by

failing to monitor, report and provide essential information concerning their products and processes. Such behaviour is no less than criminal, and it is becoming

increasingly difficult--sometimes impossible--to seek justice, and to hold these companies accountable and liable for their crimes.

The two activists (50-year-old Liz Rickman, a medical doctor from the UK and 27-year-old Kristina Petersen, a student from Germany) have now spent over a

week in police cells in Norrköping. Keeping them in confinement and under severe restrictions in an austere cell for seven days is a gross injustice and overreaction

to a peaceful protest against an environmental problem of devastating nature for the Baltic, its marine life and the surrounding states.

The restrictions imposed upon them include: no access to newspapers, radio and television, being denied the right to meet anyone apart from their public defenders,

from consulting with the Greenpeace legal councillor preparing an appeal on their behalf, or even from contacting their own families or embassies. The living

conditions in the cells where they are held in isolation are very basic. Both women are suffering from this extremely harsh and totally unmotivated treatment.

Never before in all of Europe have peaceful Greenpeace activists been treated with such cruelty. Never before has indefinite detention been imposed upon

Greenpeace activists pending trial. Sweden, with this action against two concerned environmentalists, is setting a sad and disturbing example.

When four Greenpeace activists were arrested two years ago and detained in Japan for a few days, in response to an action against using PVC in toys for toddlers,

the Swedish Environment Minister, Mr. Kjell Larsson, made a public statement condemning the response by the Japanese authorities and ordering an enquiry into

the matter by the Swedish embassy in Tokyo. Now Swedish authorities are responding in an even harsher manner when confronted by a similar peaceful protest

against obvious environmental abuse.

We demand the immediate release of Liz Rickman and Kristina Petersen from prison. Every day added to their unjust confinement is an insult to justice and to the

citizens of Sweden who believe that ruthless environmental abusers and oil polluters should be kept behind bars, not activists who protest peacefully against such

abuse.

Yours sincerely

NN

Executive Director

Greenpeace XY

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