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Vegetarian meals provided for detained Greenpeace activist at her request

October 25, 2013, 14:59 UTC+3

Saarela informed the administration earlier that she was a vegetarian and asked to change the food

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AP Photo/Greenpeace

AP Photo/Greenpeace

MURMANSK, October 25 (Itar-Tass) - The administration of the jail in Murmansk has organized vegetarian cuisine for female Greenpeace activist Sini Saarela, a citizen of Finland, who was detained aboard the Greens' icebreaker Arctic Sunrise near the Prirazlomnaya oil rig in the Pechora Sea, a regional penitentiary service official told Itar-Tass on Friday.

Saarela informed the administration earlier that she was a vegetarian and asked to change the food, and her request was met, said the acting head of the press service of the regional penitentiary service, Olga Pleshko. It is not a privilege, but ordinary practice in detention centers, she noted. Cooking of meals without meat was organized for Saarela. Every day, three times a day, she receives boiled vegetables cooked separately and fresh vegetables. Food products are given to Saarela in accordance with the daily menu list, the spokeswoman said.

The Greenpeace icebreaker Arctic Sunrise flying a Dutch flag on September 18 approached Gazprom's Prirazlomnaya oil rig in the Pechora Sea, and activists who were aboard attempted to scale the platform, protesting against drilling for oil in the Arctic. Border guards stopped their action and took the ship to the port of Murmansk.

In early October, a district court in Murmansk, following the demand of the investigators and prosecutors, arrested all the 30 people from the Arctic Sunrise, citizens of 18 states, for two months. Among the people placed in the Murmansk regional detention centre is Sini Saarela from Finland. The defense appealed against the arrest. The Murmansk regional court dismissed all the appeals and left all the detained activists in custody till November 24.

On October 23, the Russian Investigative Committee said the charges against the Greenpeace activists were changed. Their actions at the rig were considered as hooliganism, but not as piracy. Earlier, all the 30 activists were charged with piracy, and for such a crime, the law prescribes up to 15 years in prison. On hooliganism charges, under the Russian Criminal Code, a person may face up to seven years' imprisonment. The investigators do not rule out a possibility that charges of use of violence against representatives of authorities may be brought against some of the activists, since they offered resistance to border guards.

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