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Murmansk court leaves Canadian chief mate of Arctic Sunrise under arrest

October 24, 2013, 13:48 UTC+3

Paul Douglas Ruzycki's custody term is extended until November 24

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MURMANSK, October 24 (Itar-Tass) - Chief mate of the captain of the ship Arctic Sunrise Canadian Paul Douglas Ruzycki, who is accused in the attack case on the offshore oil drilling rig Prirazlomnaya, is left under arrest until November 24. The Murmansk regional court has passed the ruling to this effect on Thursday, Greenpeace in Russia told Itar-Tass.

“At the trial the lawyer of Paul Ruzycki asked to delay the hearings of the appeal, because the changed accusation was to be brought in Murmansk,” the ecological organization said. The lawyer also asked to change the accusation. However, the court turned down the lawyer’s request, because no official confirmation of this information was received from the Investigation Committee yet.

The hearings of the appeal against the arrest of Brazilian sailor Ana Paula Alminhana Maciel continue. The hearings of the appeal from cook Ruslan Yakushev, a national of Ukraine, will also resume on Thursday. On Wednesday, the court delayed these hearings, giving some time to the lawyer to study the case files.

The Greenpeace icebreaker Arctic Sunrise under the flag of the Netherlands sailed to the Russian offshore oil drilling rig Prirazlomnaya in the Pechora Sea on September 18. The activists onboard the ship tried to board the drilling rig, appealing to stop the drilling in the Arctic. The border guards curbed their action, after that the ship was towed to the port of Murmansk.

In early October at the request from detectives and prosecutors the Leninsky district court in Murmansk arrested for two months all 30 people onboard the ship Arctic Sunrise, including four Russians. They were brought to the detention centers in Murmansk and Murmansk Region. All arrestees were charged with piracy that envisages up to ten years in prison and up to 15 years in prison if an organized group is involved in the crime.

However, on October 23, the Russian Investigative Committee has changed the charge for a more lenient charge of hooliganism that carries up to seven years in prison at most. The detectives also do not rule out that several activists will be accused of the use of violence against a law enforcer, because they put up resistance to the border guards.

The Netherlands addressed to the International Tribunal of the Law of the Sea in Hamburg over the arrest of the Greenpeace activists. The Netherlands demands the crew and the Greenpeace ship should be released. Meanwhile, Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans noted that the attempts to settle the problem in diplomatic ways continue.

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