October 15, 2020 | News | No Comments
Russia, in a “surprise move,” is releasing Greenpeace’s Dutch-flagged Arctic Sunrise ship, seized last year after a protest against Arctic oil drilling, the environmental group said Friday afternoon.
“Russia’s investigative committee this morning informed Greenpeace International that it has annulled the arrest of the Arctic Sunrise, which has remained in custody in Murmansk,” Greenpeace said in a statement.
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Greenpeace reaffirmed its belief that the arrest of the ship was illegal under international law.
Reacting to the news, Greenpeace International Executive Director Kumi Naidoo said:
“Millions of people spoke out against the illegal imprisonment of the Arctic 30, and today the final member of the group is free to come home. Our ship was arrested during an entirely peaceful protest against Arctic drilling in international waters. There was absolutely no justification either for boarding the ship or keeping her for eight months.
“This whole affair was a brazen attempt to intimidate those who believe that drilling for oil in the melting Arctic is reckless and unsafe. After months without proper maintenance our ship will need careful repairs, but like our campaign to protect the Arctic she will emerge better, fitter and stronger from this.”
Russian authorities told Greenpeace’s lawyers that investigations continued “in order to examine equipment found on board the ship”.
Russian military commandos seized the Arctic Sunrise last September and detained 30 Greenpeace activists and journalists after a protest at an offshore oil rig owned by Russian state oil giant Gazprom.
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