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St. Petersburg court extends arrest to Australian Greenpeace activist for 3 months

November 18, 2013, 15:42 UTC+3 ST. PETERSBURG

Detectives believe Russell might escape justice or would influence the investigation if the measure of restraint is changed

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ST. PETERSBURG, November 18. /ITAR-TASS/. The Primorsky district court of St. Petersburg has extended for three months the arrest term to Australian citizen Colin Russell, who was detained during a Greenpeace action seeking to board the Russian offshore oil drilling rig Prirazlomnaya, Itar-Tass reported from the courtroom on Monday. Thus, the term in arrest was extended until February 24.

The court ruled to support the detectives, who stated in their request that Russell may escape justice or would influence the investigation if the measure of restraint is changed. Meanwhile, the court has found the arguments produced by the lawyers invalid. The lawyers noted that the accusation is groundless, dismissed the assumptions that the defendant may escape justice or would exert influence on the investigation and produced the reservation at the hotel as evidence. Russell would be able to live at the hotel during the investigation. The lawyers also submitted financial documents that prove Greenpeace can pay a bail of up two million roubles (about $61.2 thousand) for him.

On Monday, the St. Petersburg court will try several more requests to extend the terms in arrest for other defendants in the criminal case.

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On September 18, the Arctic Sunrise ship sailed to the offshore oil drilling rig Prirazlomnaya. The border guards curbed their actions, after that the ship was towed to the port of Murmansk, Northern Russia. All detainees were arrested for two months and were brought to the detention centres in Murmansk Region. In early October the court of the second instance turned down an appeal from the Greenpeace lawyers to change the measure of restraint. At first they were accused of piracy, but later the accusation was changed for hooliganism, but as Greenpeace claims the lawyers had not received the rulings on the termination of the criminal case opened for piracy. On November 12, all 30 defendants in the criminal case over the Greenpeace action off the oil drilling rig Prirazlomnaya were transferred from the city of Murmansk to the detention centres of the Russian northern capital.

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