Australian Colin Russell reunited with family in St Petersburg

Press release - 29 November, 2013
In the early hours of this morning, Australian Colin Russell was the last of the Arctic 30 to be released on bail from detention in St Petersburg.

"Colin's physical release from detention is a happy time for all his friends, family and the thousands of people around the world who have supported him," said Greenpeace CEO David Ritter. "But the full celebration can only occur when all charges are dropped and he can return home to Tasmania."

"The Arctic30 were sailing on the Arctic Sunrise to raise public awareness of the dangers of drilling for oil. Colin is not a criminal, but a peaceful protester bravely working to highlight the madness of exploiting the pristine but rapidly melting Arctic for fossil fuels."

After his release, Colin was reunited with his wife Chrissie and daughter Maddy who had embarked on the 30 hour flight to St Petersburg on Thursday.

The Arctic 30 are still accused of hooliganism and face a maximum sentence of seven years' imprisonment. It also remains uncertain when the non-Russian nationals can return home and they will for now remain in St Petersburg.

Russia and the Netherlands must report back by December 2 on progress in complying with a binding ruling by the International Tribunal for the law of the Sea (ITLOS) ordering Russia to release the Arctic 30 and the ship Arctic Sunrise upon the posting of a 3.6 million euro bond by the Netherlands.

Donald Rothwell, Professor of International Law at the Australian National University, said in an opinion piece:

"Russia cannot pick and choose when it will and will not abide by the law of the sea. As a leading international citizen, it has a clear obligation to follow the Tribunal's ruling and release the Arctic Sunrise and its crew and to allow them to leave Russia. It should indicate its compliance with the Tribunal's orders as soon as possible."

For interviews and more information, contact Alison Orme on 0432 332 104

Footage of Colin's release - dopesheet available on ftp

Link to photos by Igor Podgorny (4 new at start)

Link to Flickr

Link to full feature set