Save the Arctic free the activists

Greenpeace demands Russia to immediately release the activists

Press release - 2013-09-27
Hong Kong - Greenpeace East Asia today protested at the Russian Consulate General in solidarity with the crew of the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise which was illegally seized by the Russian Coast Guard in the Arctic, facing possible charge of Piracy. Greenpeace International insisted it would not be intimidated and its lawyers would lodge an appeal seeking their immediate release.

In Hong Kong, 20 activists unfolded a banner that reads ‘Save the Arctic, Free the Activists’ at the Russian Consulate General. Greenpeace senior campaigner Prentice Koo said, “Non Violence Direct Action has been Greenpeace’s core value for the last 40 years, we take action to protest against the dangerous act of oil drilling in the Arctic. During the peaceful action at the oil rig, our activists only carried banners and ropes, while facing high level of armed guard. Saving the Arctic is not a kind of crime.”

In Russia, twenty-eight Greenpeace International activists, as well as a freelance photographer and a freelance videographer, were taken to the Lenin district court in Murmansk in handcuffs, where they were placed in a cage and provided inadequate translators. Of the 30, 22 were remanded in custody for two months pending an investigation into piracy charges, while eight were detained for three days pending a new hearing.

Greenpeace International executive director Kumi Naidoo said: “The Russian authorities are trying to scare people who stand up to the oil industry in the Arctic, but this blatant intimidation will not succeed. We are resolute in our commitment to protecting the Arctic environment and the world’s climate. We call on people in Russia and around the world to stand with our activists and defend their right to peaceful protest.”

Besides Hong Kong, Greenpeace activists have staged a number of peaceful demonstrations outside Russian Embassies around the world in support of the activists and crew aboard the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise.

All 30 activists from the Ship still remain under arrest near Murmansk, they were interviewed by the Investigative Committee and served papers confirming they were being investigated for piracy offences. They have not been charged with any offences.  

On September 18, the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise took peaceful action at Gazprom’s Prirazlomnaya platform to stop it from producing the world’s first oil from icy Arctic waters. The activists approached the Gazprom Prirazlomnaya oil platform, in the Pechora Sea off the Russian coast, to engage in a peaceful protest of Arctic oil drilling. However, the Russian Coast Guard reacted strongly: after firing warning shots and detaining two activists under armed guard, they then seized the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise and have towed it to the port of Murmansk. Greenpeace Russia has contacted both Gazprom and Russian authorities multiple times in the past to explain the organisation’s peaceful opposition to dangerous Arctic drilling.

Over 500,000 people have written to Russian embassies around the world since the ship was seized a week ago, and Greenpeace is organizing solidarity protests in cities around the world.

Greenpeace International insists that possible piracy charges are unjustified, and that Russian authorities boarded the Arctic Sunrise illegally in international waters. Several international legal experts have supported that view.

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Media Contact

Prentice Koo, Senior Campaigner
Tel:2854 8303 Email:

Josephine Ng, Senior Communications Officer
Tel:2854 8332 Email:

Greenpeace International press desk
Tel:+31 (0)20 718 24 70 Email:

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