Amsterdam, October 23rd 2013: Commenting on reports that piracy charges against the Arctic 30 are to be dropped and replaced with a charge of hooliganism, Vladimir Chuprov of Greenpeace Russia said:
“The Arctic 30 are no more hooligans than they were pirates. This is still a wildly disproportionate charge that carries up to seven years in jail. It represents nothing less than an assault on the very principle of peaceful protest. Those brave men and women went to the Arctic armed with nothing more than a desire to shine a light on a reckless business. They should be with their families, not in a prison in Murmansk.
“We will contest the trumped up charge of hooliganism as strongly as we contested the piracy allegations. They are both fantasy charges that bear no relation to reality. The Arctic 30 protested peacefully against Gazprom's dangerous oil drilling and should be free.
“The Investigative Committee also say they may charge some activists with use of force against officials, carrying up to ten years in jail. Greenpeace has a 42 year history of entirely peaceful activism, it is a cheap libel to accuse those campaigners of doing anything other than protesting peacefully, they arrived at that oil rig in a ship painted with a dove and a rainbow. Our ship was seized by men with knives and guns, while the Arctic 30 raised their arms. They should be released immediately.”