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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

Saturday, Oct. 25


AVA Expo, the eighth edition of the event revolving around all things pop, returns to Lenexpo this weekend. Geeks, nerds, dweebs and dorks will have their chance to talk science fiction and explore a variety of international pop culture. Tickets for the event can be purchased on their website at avaexpo.ru.



Sunday, Oct. 26


Zenit St. Petersburg returns home for the first time in nearly a month as they host Mordovia Saransk in a Russian Premier League game. Currently at the top of the league thanks to their undefeated start to the season, the northern club hopes to extend the gap between them and second-place CSKA Moscow and win the title for the first time in three years. Tickets are available at the stadium box office or on the club’s website.



Monday, Oct. 27


Today marks the end of the art exhibit “Neophobia” at the Erarta Museum. Artists Alexey Semichov and Andrei Kuzmin took a neo-modernist approach to represent the array of fears that are ever-present throughout our lives. Tickets are 200 rubles ($4.90).



Tuesday, Oct. 28


The Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel plays host to SPIBA’s Marketing and Communications Committee’s round table discussion on “Government Relations Practices in Russia” this morning. The discussion starts at 9:30 a.m. and participation must be confirmed by Oct. 24.



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