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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 Russias 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 regions 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

Sunday, Aug. 31


The Neva Delta International Blues Festival wraps up this afternoon on Vasilevsky Island with a concert featuring not only some of Russias best blues bands but international stars as well. Admission is free for all three days of the festival, which begins on Aug. 29, and the shows starting at 5 p.m. each day.



Monday, Sept. 1


Today marks the beginning of Lermontov-Fest, a fall festival celebrating the life of one of Russias most remarkable poets who, in a fate eerily similar to Pushkins, was killed in a duel at the age of 26. Organized by the Lermontov Library System, the next several months will see art exhibitions, concerts and public lectures focusing on the Lermontovs short yet prolific career. Check the Lermontov Library Systems website for more details.



Tuesday, Sept. 2


Join expats and practice your Russian during the Russian Clubs weekly meetings every Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. The club is free to participate in although you need to be a registered member of Couchsurfing.



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