St Petersburg, 29 December 2013 – Activist and Polish national Tomasz Dziemianczuk has left Russia, the 26th and final foreign member of the Arctic 30 to leave the country. This signals a new chapter in the campaign to save the Arctic.
Before boarding his flight to Warsaw, Tomasz, 37, said:
"I am very happy to be going home, but I don't feel the same for the ship and its future. I am emotionally connected to both the crew and the ship and for me the case will be over when the ship is back in Amsterdam. We sailed north to take action against the oil companies lining up to profit from the melting Arctic sea ice and this is far from over. This was only a great beginning to our Arctic campaign."
The Arctic 30 were seized by armed commandos in international waters on September 19 after peacefully attempting to attach a banner to an Arctic oil platform operated by Gazprom. They were granted amnesty by the Duma (Russian parliament), but the Arctic Sunrise is still moored in Murmansk and has not yet been released by Russian authorities.
Greenpeace International is calling on the Investigative Committee to facilitate the return of the ship and the personal belongings of the Arctic 30 now that the criminal prosecution against the Arctic 30 has been terminated.
Ben Ayliffe, Arctic campaigner at Greenpeace International said:
"We’re relieved the Arctic 30 are going home, but they should never have been charged in the first place. The Arctic is the heartbeat of our climate, a measure of our planet’s health, but is under profound threat from the onslaught of climate change and the reckless oil industry. We will not stay silent while companies like Gazprom and Shell line up to profit from the Arctic's destruction. Today is only the end of one chapter and we start another. There has been no amnesty for the Arctic and this is far from over."
The arrest and jailing of the Arctic 30 escalated an already global movement to save the Arctic as more than 2.6 million people wrote to Russian embassies urging their release. Protests were held across 46 countries in more than 150 cities and an international court ordered their release.
Scores of celebrities, musicians and actors offered their support, while political support was offered by Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, Angela Merkel, David Cameron, François Hollande, Ban Ki-moon and Hillary Clinton. Twelve Nobel Peace Prize winners called for their release.
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