Arctic 30 New Zealanders Return Home

Press release - December 29, 2013
The two New Zealanders who spent two months in a Russian prison following a peaceful protest at an Arctic oil platform have returned home.

David Haussmann and Jonathan Beauchamp are now back in New Zealand and will spend some time with their families.

The two were among 30 people arrested following the protest at a Gazprom-operated oil platform. They were all facing charges of hooliganism.

The Russian parliament recently voted for an amnesty for those charged with hooliganism, which left the New Zealanders free to return home.

Bunny McDiarmid, the executive director for Greenpeace New Zealand, said:

“I can’t stop smiling. It’s great that David and Jon are back home.
“They should never have been charged in the first place, and it’s ridiculous that they were locked up for months over a peaceful protest to protect the Arctic.

“But they’re back in New Zealand now, and they’re going to spend some time with the sun on their faces and their whanau in their arms.”

The campaign to free the Arctic 30 has seen 860 protests in 46 countries and in more than 150 cities worldwide, while more than 2.6 million people wrote to Russian embassies. Supporters included Sir Paul McCartney, Madonna, Jude Law, Oscar-winning actress Marion Cotillard, Ewan McGregor, Juliette Lewis, Ricky Martin, Edward Norton, Gael García Bernal, Ricardo Darín, Alejandro Sanz, Pedro Almodóvar and scores more famous names.

Political support was offered by Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, Angela Merkel, David Cameron, François Hollande, Ban Ki-moon and Hillary Clinton. Twelve Nobel Peace Prize winners called for their release, including Desmond Tutu, Aung San Suu Kyi and Lech Walesa.