Future of Greenpeace Activists Uncertain
‘St. Petersburg is a beautiful city but we’d like to be home with those who love us most.’
Published: December 4, 2013 (Issue # 1789)
The Greenpeace activists who were arrested following a protest in opposition to oil drilling in the Arctic are still unable to leave Russia, but their lawyers are working on the matter, said Anton Beneslavsky, one of the activists’ lawyers, at a press-conference in St. Petersburg on Nov. 29.
“They can’t leave Russia yet because the situation with the bail and the regulation of their legal status is not completely clear,” Beneslavsky said.
“It is not yet clear if their departure may be considered an attempt to flee prosecution,” he said.
The investigators have not yet given the activists leave to depart Russia, Beneslavsky said. Currently the activists are in Russia on the basis of registration in their hotel. It’s a temporary measure, he said. All foreign visitors to Russia are required to hold a valid visa both to enter and depart the country.
“The situation is rather difficult because they were not arrested in Russia and were brought here without visas,” Beneslavsky said.
“We don’t know how much time it will take to resolve this difficult legal situation that the Russians have created. We’d like the activists to have a chance to go home for Christmas at least,” he said.
“The ideal solution would be the dismissal of the unjust criminal case against the activists, then making visas for them and letting them go home,” he added.
Another lawyer for the activists, Sergei Golubok, said on Monday that both the lawyers and the activists were confident that the foreigners would be allowed to leave Russia, Interfax reported.
Earlier, Russian authorities said the activists were free to travel, and could leave the Russian Federation, but that they would be able to do so only after the legal issues surrounding their presence in the country had been settled, Interfax reported.
Kieron Bryan, a freelance video journalist from the UK who was on board the Arctic Sunrise, said that all of the activists “would like to go home for the time of the case.”
“St. Petersburg is a beautiful city but we’d like to be home with those who love us most,” Bryan said at the press conference.
After their release from pre-trial detention, some of the activists were called in to see the investigators.
“Speaking to the investigators was a reminder that we’re still facing serious charges,” Bryan said.
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