Two Greenpeace activists have been held in isolation in police cells for eight days in Sweden. They were arrested for taking part in a peaceful protest against an oil dumping vessel and have been detained on suspicion of aggravated trespass.
Greenpeace activists arrested during attempt to block the oil dumper MS Fagervik in Norrkoping, Sweden.
They have been told they will be kept in jail until trial. No
date has been yet been set.
The two women are Liz Rickman, a fifty year old doctor with dual
Australian and British nationality and Kristina Petersen, a 27 year
old student from Germany.
The protest took place in the Baltic Sea, where activists were
drawing attention to a vessel which had been illegally dumping oil
into the Baltic Sea.
Yet while the owners and operators of the vessel walked free
from court, both Liz and Kristina have spent the last week in
"This is a violation not just of their civil rights, but also
their human rights," said Greenpeace International Executive
Director, Gerd Leipold. "It is shocking that such a normally
liberal country as Sweden, with a good track record on
environmental issues should adopt such a brutal approach to
peaceful protestors who were highlighting environmental crimes,"
The women are being held in wholly inadequate conditions in
police holding cells that are designed for short term or overnight
detention, not longer periods. They have been refused access to
embassy officials, legal representation of their choosing or
During initial proceedings the women were brought before the
magistrate separately behind closed doors. Greenpeace believes
there have been a number of breaches of the European Court of Human
rights Act through the treatment of these two women, including
degrading treatment, the denial of their right to legal counsel of
their choosing, and the possibility of being prosecuted because of
Previous court cases involving other Greenpeace activists in
Sweden facing aggravated trespass charges have resulted in no more
than a fine being imposed. None has ever been imprisoned. The
prosecutor claims both women are a flight risk, though no
Greenpeace activist world-wide has ever failed to appear in court
to face charges. An appeal against the ruling will be lodged with
the Supreme court in the morning.