Moscow, Russian Federation (4E) – Russian prosecutors have changed to hooliganism the piracy charges against 28 Greenpeace activists and two freelance journalists who tried to scale a Gazprom offshore oil platform in the Arctic Ocean last month.
Greenpeace Russia said the new charge revealed Wednesday by Investigative Committee chief Vladimir Markin was still disproportionate to the peaceful protest of the activists. The punishment for hooliganism in Russia is up to 7 years imprisonment while piracy carries a maximum penalty of a 15-year sentence.
“The Arctic 30 are no more hooligans than they were pirates,” said Vladimir Chuprov of Greenpeace Russia. “Those brave men and women went to the Arctic armed with nothing more than a desire to shine a light on a reckless business.”
Chuprov said Greenpeace will contest the hooliganism charges and called for the release of the activists and journalists, who remain in prison in the northern port city of Murmansk as their application for bail was denied.
The activists of different nationalities were aboard the Greenpeace’s Arctic Sunrise icebreaker when they tried to scale the Arctic oil rig in mid-September to protest against the dangerous oil drilling. Russian security forces boarded the vessel and arrested the Greenpeace crew.