The four Greenpeace activists who have been detained in jail for 20 days for staging a peaceful climate protest during the UN Climate Summit have now been granted their freedom by Danish authorities.
The "Red Carpet Four" from the Netherlands, Norway, Spain and Switzerland, were arrested following a peaceful protest at the start of a State Banquet hosted by Queen Margrethe II for world leaders attending the Copenhagen climate summit:
Their release comes a day in advance of their detention being reviewed by a Danish judge and the four activists still face trial in the Danish courts, and possible prison sentences. Greenpeace consistently offered its full co-operation to Danish police and provided them with comprehensive details of the activity. A request from Greenpeace asking the Danish police to specify what additional information they needed to know in connection with the case was met with two weeks of silence on the part of the police.
British human rights lawyer Richard Harvey questioned whether such detention is in line with European and international norms:
"The Danish authorities must regard legitimate protest as an essential element of democratic discourse and freedom of expression. Such prolonged pre-trial detention appears to be a flagrant violation of key articles of international human rights agreements requiring those awaiting trial to be released when they guarantee to appear in court and for them to be entitled to trial within a reasonable time."
On the evening of 17 December 2009, three of the activists posing as a 'Head of State of the Natural Kingdom', his 'wife' and a security detail were waved through the security cordon around the Heads of State banquet. They unfurled banners reading, "Politicians Talk, Leaders Act".
Leaders at the Copenhagen Summit failed to do so. The Copenhagen climate summit ended in failure by agreeing only to note the 'Copenhagen Accord', an empty document containing no legally binding commitments for cutting greenhouse gas emissions.
Since then thousands of people have sent letters to world leaders and the Danish authorities in solidarity with the "Red Carpet Four" - thank you to those of you who helped to keep up the pressure and ensure freedom for our activists.
We must continue to build pressure on world leaders to finish the job that should have been done at the UN Climate Summit in Copenhagen. You can still act now to change the future - send your letter demanding a fair, ambitious and binding climate treaty in 2010.
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