Prime Minister Abbott must meet with President Putin at APEC this weekend to seek release of detained Australian.

Press release - 3 October, 2013
Sydney 4 October, 2013: Greenpeace is calling on Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, to seek a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at this weekend’s APEC Summit in Bali, Indonesia, to discuss the laying of piracy charges against Australia Colin Russell yesterday.

Mr Russell, a Greenpeace crewmember from the Arctic Sunrise, was charged with piracy in Murmansk, Russia yesterday. The charge of piracy carries a mandatory sentence of between 10 and 15 years imprisonment. Mr Russell was involved in a protest against the Gazprom Arctic drilling platform Prirazlomnaya on September 18th. The photographs clearly show peaceful activists posing no threat to the Russian authorities or Gazprom employees.

Greenpeace Australia Pacific CEO, David Ritter said: “The charge of piracy is a disproportionate response to a peaceful protest. We urge the Prime Minister to convey his concerns to President Putin at this weekend’s APEC Summit and seek Mr. Russell’s release”.

President Putin has already said the activists – including Colin - were “not pirates,” but added they may have broken international law.

Greenpeace Australia Pacific is calling on the Prime Minister to take this opportunity to express his concerns about Mr. Russell’s detention and offer a letter of guarantee to President Putin on behalf of Colin Russell and his family. This letter would essentially ensure Mr. Russell was able to come home while awaiting trial. Brazil and Argentina have already signaled their willingness to do so on behalf of their nationals who are being detained.

“Finally we implore the Prime Minister to do all he can to ensure that these disproportionate charges are dropped and Colin Russell is released,” concluded Ritter.

For more information contact:

Greenpeace CEO, David Ritter: 0407 997 657

Greenpeace media officer, Julie Macken: 0400 925 217