Amsterdam, 2 October 2013 - Thirteen Greenpeace activists and a freelance video journalist have now been charged with piracy under Article 227 of the Russian Criminal Code. The maximum sentence, if convicted, is 15 years in a Russian jail. A further 15 activists and a Russian freelance photojournalist will appear in front of the Russian Investigative Committee one of the following days, we expect.
The individuals against whom the piracy charge has been laid are:
Argentinian Camila Speziale; Brazilian Ana Paula Maciel; Britons Philip Ball, Alexandra Harris, Anthony Perrett, and freelance videographer Kieron Bryan; Dutch citizens Faiza Oulahsen and Mannes Ubels; Finnish citizen Sini Saarela; Polish citizen Tomasz Dziemianczuk; Russian Roman Dolgov and one other Russian crew member whose name is withheld on their request. Swedish / American dual citizen Dima Litvinov; and Ukrainian citizen Ruslan Yakushev.
Amnesty International has demanded that the Russian authorities drop the “absurd and damaging” piracy charges (1). Over 60 other NGOs have issued statements of concern and support including Human Rights Watch, Christian Aid, WWF International, Friends of the Earth International, 350, Sierra Club, Reporters Without Borders, Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe and Global Witness.
Nobel Laureate Adolfo Perez Esquivel, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Nils Muižnieks, Russian Human Rights activist Lyudmila Alekseyeva and numbers lawmakers and MEPs are also calling for their release. In an interview on Ekho Moskvy Radio on Wednesday, Russian rock legend Yuri Shevchuk dismissed the piracy charges as ridiculous. “The whole world knows Greenpeace,” he said. “Greenpeace is the organization that helped save the Antarctic. . . and penguins and scientists live there happily. And what about saving whales!”
Earlier today Greenpeace International executive director Kumi Naidoo said: “A charge of piracy is being laid against men and women whose only crime is to be possessed of a conscience. This is an outrage and represents nothing less than an assault on the very principle of peaceful protest. Any claim that these activists are pirates is as absurd as it is abominable. It is utterly irrational, it is designed to intimidate and silence us, but we will not be cowed.” Full statement (2)
Those appearing in front of the Investigative Committee one of the following days are:
American Peter Willcox (Captain, Arctic Sunrise); Argentinian Miguel Hernan Perez Orzi; Australian Colin Russell; Britons Frank Hewetson and Iain Rogers; Canadians Alexandre Paul and Paul D Ruzycki; Danish citizen Anne Mie Roer Jensen; French citizen Francesco Pisanu; Italian Cristian D'Alessandro; New Zealanders Jonathan Beauchamp and David Haussmann; Russian Andrey Allakhverdov and Freelance Russian photographer Denis Sinyakov; Swiss Marco Weber; and Turkish citizen Gizhem Akhan.
Greenpeace International press desk: +31 20 718 2470 or
Greenpeace International picture desk: +31 20 718 2471
Greenpeace International video desk: +31 20 718 2472