Russia Accuses Greenpeace Activists of Posing a Threat to Platform Personnel

Greenpeace activist Sini Saarela

Greenpeace activist Sini Saarela of Finland stands in a defendant’s cage during a hearing at a court in Murmansk, Russia, on Sunday. Photograph: Dmitri Sharomov/AP

from AP

Russia‘s main investigative agency has accused Greenpeace activists of posing a “real threat” to the security of personnel at an offshore drilling platform in the Arctic, another indication of plans to prosecute the environmentalists for their protest.

All 30 people who were on a Greenpeace ship, including two journalists, have been remanded in custody for two months pending an investigation into their protest on 18 September at the platform owned by state-controlled energy firm Gazprom.

The Investigative Committee said on Monday that charges would be filed soon, but did not specify whether it was still considering charging the activists with piracy, a crime punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

The investigators said the Greenpeace ship the Arctic Sunrise had violated the 500-metre security zone around the platform and that it was carrying equipment whose purpose was still unclear.

In a statement, the investigators said they had seized some equipment and documents from the ship as part of their ongoing search.

Greenpeace Russia denied the ship had ventured closer than the 500 metres established by Russian and international law. The inflatable boats used by activists to scale the offshore platform did violate this zone, but posed no danger, the organisation said.

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