Amsterdam, 12 November 2013 – The train carrying 30 men and women detained after a peaceful protest at a Gazprom Arctic oil platform arrived today in St Petersburg. Greenpeace International confirms the train arrived at St Petersburg’s Ladozhsky Railway Station (Ладожский) just after noon local time.
The Arctic 30 departed from Murmansk in a prison wagon early on Monday and upon arrival in St Petersburg the wagon was detached and moved 1km away from the station. The authorities moved the detainees to transportation buses, surrounded by many police.
It is not yet certain which SIZO (detention centre) in St Petersburg they are being taken to or whether the new facility will represent an improvement on conditions compared with their detention in Murmansk. The 28 Greenpeace International activists and two freelance journalists may also be spread out over different locations across St Petersburg. Greenpeace International has a legal team on standby in St Petersburg.
Ben Ayliffe, Greenpeace International Arctic campaigner, commented:
“This is a new chapter in the story of the Arctic 30, but it’s still the same story. They are innocent men and women in jail on trumped up charges, threatened with long term prison sentences for a crime they didn’t commit. In an age of cynicism and political apathy in many countries, the activists did something about an issue they care passionately about. They saw that oil platform as a threat to a fragile, beautiful environment. They protested peacefully, driven by their convictions, and for that they are being unjustly punished. They should be released immediately.”
After a prison transfer it is routine procedure in Russia that detainees are quarantined for infectious diseases. This may be a relatively short period, but lawyers will not have access to the detainees during this period.
On November 24, the two-month detention period imposed on the Arctic 30 by the Leninsky District Court of Murmansk comes to an end. If Russia’s Investigative Committee wishes to extend this period it must make an application to the relevant District Court in St. Petersburg no later than one week in advance (November 17).
Detention hearings would follow a few days after the application is made and they must be completed by November 24. If the authorities do apply for an extension of detention, Greenpeace International expects hearings could take place on a rolling basis during the week of November 17-24.
The maximum period of detention that may be sought is four months, but the investigators can also request a shorter period initially. A team of lawyers to represent the Arctic 30 has already arrived in St. Petersburg, together with support staff.
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