Murmansk court continues to refuse bail for Greenpeace International activists

Press release - October 15, 2013
Amsterdam, 15 October 2013 - Greenpeace International activist Frank Hewetson (UK) has been refused bail by the Regional Court of Murmansk in Russia, bringing the number of rejected bail appeals to 10.

Activist Marco Weber (Switzerland) also appeared in court today, but his appeal hearing was postponed until October 21 due to the lack of a German language translator. Italian crew member Cristian D'Alessandro will appear in court later today for his bail hearing and more appeals will be held later this week. (1)

Nina Gold, wife of detainee Frank Hewetson, said:

“Frank has now spent three weeks locked up thousands of miles away from his family. He is accused of an absurd crime which clearly none of the Arctic 30 are guilty of committing. The only thing he is guilty of is participating in an entirely peaceful protest to raise awareness of a cause that he passionately believes in - protecting the planet and the fragile wilderness of the Arctic. He has two teenage children back home who miss him terribly, and not knowing when we’ll be able to see him again is agony.”

In court today, Hewetson said Greenpeace has a record of 40 years of peaceful protests and the allegation that the organisation committed piracy is “absurd”. He asked the judge to order all 30 detainees to be released so that Greenpeace can “better protect the environment”.

In an earlier letter, Hewetson also said he remains in good spirits and is adapting to the “daily grind” of prison life “where the merest opening of the peep hole from the outside causes a ripple of excitement from within”.

Frank, who is being kept in a poorly-lit cell with a chain-smoking Russian inmate, writes further: “(If) I walk round the flooded 5m x 5m concrete pen 80 times it's the equivalent of walking [from home] to Queen's Park,” which is Frank's local tube rail station in London. He's been given a phrasebook and a chess set, which he says “will be a real bonus”.

In other developments, Greenpeace International Executive Director Kumi Naidoo was meeting today with Finnish Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja to discuss the situation around the Arctic 30 detainees, one of whom, Sini Saarela, is Finnish.

On Friday, October 18, to mark 30 days of detention - “30 days of injustice” - for the Arctic 30, Greenpeace will hold Solidarity Actions across the globe together with partner NGOs, celebrities and supporters.

And in a colourful show of solidarity, Brazilian artist Eduardo Kobra has painted a mural in Moscow calling for the release of Brazilian activist Ana Paula Alminhana Maciel. (2)

Contact:
Greenpeace International press desk: +31 20 718 24 70 or

Video and photos:
Greenpeace International will provide photo and video of the appeals hearings. For details:

Greenpeace International picture desk: +31 20 718 24 71
Greenpeace International video desk: +31 20 718 24 72

Notes:
1. The following will have the appeals hearings heard on Wednesday at 10:00 local time: Anthony Perrett (UK), Jonathan Beauchamp (NZ), Francesco Pisanu (France) and Gizem Akhan (Turkey). The following will have their appeals hearing on Thursday at 10:00 local time: Ana Paula Alminhana Maciel (Brazil), Mannes Ubels (Netherlands), Colin Keith Russell (Australia). Miguel Hernan Perez Orsi (Argentina) will have his bail hearing at 14:30 on Thursday.

2. http://www1.folha.uol.com.br/ilustrada/2013/10/1356570-artista-brasileiro-faz-mural-em-moscou-em-defesa-de-ativista-do-greenpeace-presa.shtml

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