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MURMANSK, September 27 (Itar-Tass) - A Murmansk court early Friday morning ordered 22 of the 30 detained Greenpeace activists of the Arctic Sunrise vessel to be held under arrest for two months. They are charged with piracy after an unsuccessful attempt at boarding the Prirazlomnaya platform to hang a banner protesting oil exploration of the Arctic. Prirazlomaya is one of the major projects of Gazpromneft, a subsidiary of the Russian gas giant Gazprom.
For the rest of the detainees the period of custody has been extended to 72 hours. The North-West Federal District’s investigation department of Russia’s Investigative Committee told Itar-Tass on Friday that the investigation petitioned for placing under arrest all the crewmembers, but the Leninsky Court of Murmansk granted the motion in part.
A department representative promised to advise the public of the further investigation plans later.
Russians Denis Sinyakov and Roman Dolgov were among the first who were placed under arrest for two months. Two other Russians were also arrested. The ship’s captain, U.S. citizen Peter Wilcox will also spend two months in custody.
Russia’s Investigative Committee had previously reported that those arrested for an attack on the Prirazlomnaya platform might be released from custody prior to the expiration of the two-month period ordered by the court. Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin told Itar-Tass that after the role and culpability of each of the attackers and the degree of social danger of the offence is established, “the investigation may soften the measure of restraint, releasing the detainees even before the expiry of their arrest term.”
On September 18, the Arctic Sunrise ship approached the Prirazlomnaya offshore oil drilling platform and the Greenpeace activists who were on the vessel, attempted to board the platform. Their actions were stopped by officers of the Border Guard Department of Murmansk Oblast’s FSB, after which the vessel was taken in tow to Murmansk port. The investigators opened a criminal case over piracy, but they do not rule out that the charges may be softened. A total of 30 crewmembers of the ship - representatives of 19 countries, were detained.