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Putin Says Detained Greenpeace Activists Deserve Clemency

Published: November 22, 2013 (Issue # 1787)



  • President Vladimir Putin.
    Photo: Alexei Danichev / RIA Novosti

The Greenpeace activists detained in Russia over a protest at an Arctic oil rig should be granted clemency, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday as 10 of them were released and many others granted bail.

When asked to comment on their case at a meeting with Russian writers, publishers, critics and booksellers, Putin said that not every noble cause can justify any means.

“Were they pursuing a noble cause? Yes. Were they right to scale the platform? No,” the Russian president said. “But of course, the state should show clemency.”

In September, the Arctic Sunrise icebreaker carrying a group of 28 Greenpeace activists and two reporters approached an Arctic Sea oil platform owned by an affiliate of Russia’s state-owned energy giant Gazprom.

The ship and its international crew were detained after some of the activists tried to scale the platform in protest against offshore drilling in the Arctic, which the environmental group says could have devastating consequences for the region’s fragile ecosystem. They were initially charged with piracy, but that charge was later downgraded to hooliganism.

A court in the northern city of Murmansk rejected Greenpeace's appeal Thursday over the arrest of the icebreaker.

By the time court hearings were over on Thursday afternoon, 26 of the 30 Greenpeace detainees had been granted bail and 11 of those had been released, the environmental organization said.

On Wednesday, Ana Paula Alminhana Maciel, a 31-year-old biologist from Brazil, became the first Arctic Sunrise crew member to be released.

Three Russians – Yekaterina Zaspa, Denis Sinyakov and Andrei Allakhverdov – as well as seven other crew members from New Zealand, France, Italy, Finland, Poland, Argentina and Denmark were released Thursday after bail was posted for them.

More bail hearings are scheduled for Friday.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Thursday, Dec. 25


Make this Christmas a slam-dunk and check out the Zenit St. Petersburg basketball club as they take on Nizhny Novgorod this evening at the Sibur Arena on Krestovsky Ostrov at 8 p.m. Tickets are still available on the club’s website for as little as 200 rubles ($3.30).


Spend your yuletide with Oleg Basilashvili this evening at the Concert Hall at 13/1 Arsenalnaya Naberezhnaya . The legendary film and stage actor will chat with fans, tell stories and share memories of an extensive career that has earned him acclaim throughout Russia.



Friday, Dec. 26


Celebrate Boxing Day by playing various tabletop games during the British Book Center’s Board Game Evening tonight at 5 p.m. Spread the Christmas cheer and goodwill by making other people regret their decision to come and try to match their intellectual prowess against yours.



Saturday, Dec. 27


Indulge cultural and material needs simultaneously during the free classical music concert at the Galeria shopping mall in the heart of the city. Starting at 7 p.m., shoppers and mallwalkers will be able to hear the sounds of Tchaikovsky and Strauss softly lilt over the constant buzz of people bustling from store to store, trying to get their shopping done before New Year.



Sunday, Dec. 28


Prepare for the holidays at the Russian Winter New Year’s Fair on Moskovskaya Ploshchad, which concludes today after starting on Dec. 22. Games and attractions as well as numerous performances will be on offer for those looking to get into the spirit while numerous vendors will help make sure you have something for everyone on your list.



Monday, Dec. 29


Learn how the Swedes observe Christmas, or Jul, in their land of ice and snow, during aSwedish Christmas celebration at the Lermontov Children’s Library this afternoon at 4 p.m. Activities explaining and demonstrating Sweden’s cultural traditions will be accompanied by traditional dishes and sweets.



Tuesday, Dec. 30


Today is the final day of the Christmas Market at the Europolis shopping center on Polyustrovsky prospekt. Indulge your holiday sweet tooth by tucking into some gingerbread men, or attend one of the master classes that will teach you about how to make beautiful, festive decorations for your tree using only your hands.



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