MOSCOW, September 28 (Itar-Tass) - A Russian legislator has called for an unemotional probe into the latest incident at the Prirazlomnaya oil platform in the Arctic international environmental activists from Greenpeace had chosen as a target for protest. Also, the lawmaker would like to see a constructive discussion of the arrest of Russian photographer Denis Sinyakov, who was accompanying the group of the nature conservation campaigners.
“I have looked into the investigators’ position on the issue. It is quite clear and based on routine rules of procedure in such situations. Sinyakov refused to testify, referring to Article 51 of the Constitution. Therefore, he left investigators no choice other than detaining him for further questioning,” Mikhail Starshinov, a State Duma member from the All-Russia People’s Front, told Itar-Tass on Friday.
“If Sinyakov had presented exhaustive sufficient testimonies and explained that he was on a professional assignment and was not involved in any illegal actions, the investigators would have had an alternative,” Starshinov said. “First of all Sinyakov should agree testify.”
“In case there are some people in the mass media community who know him well and are ready to vouch for him, I would be prepared to use my status of the head of an inter-faction group on interaction between civil society institutions and law-enforcement bodies to offer my assistance in that respect,” Starshinov added.
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 facility. They were stopped by the border guards and their 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 eased. A total of 30 crewmembers - nationals of 19 countries - were detained.
A Murmansk court early Friday morning ordered 22 of the 30 detained Greenpeace activists of the Arctic Sunrise vessel be held under arrest for two months. For the rest of the detainees the period of custody has been extended to 72 hours.
Russians Denis Sinyakov and Roman Dolgov were among the first to have been remanded in custody for two months. Two other Russians were also arrested. The ship’s captain, U.S. citizen Peter Wilcox will also spend two months in detention, too.