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ST PETERSBURG, November 21. /ITAR-TASS/. Environmental campaign group Greenpeace has paid the bail for 20 activists and crewmembers of the Arctic Sunrise ship, who are awaiting release from St. Petersburg’s prisons.
“By 2pm Moscow time we have paid the bail for 20 people. The release procedures go normally depending on received documents ,” Greenpeace lawyer Anton Beneslavsky told Itar-Tass on Thursday.
The bail for each activist totals two million rubles.
Beneslavsky said Greenpeace lawyers had been working with the Federal Migration Service to ensure legal stay of 30 activists following their September arrest for storming the Russian Arctic oil rig Prirazlomnaya.
“Irrespective of whether they had Russian visas or not, their entry to Russia had not taken place. This brought about many legal moments that should be tackled,” the lawyer said.
Moreover, lawyers resolve the issue of individual accommodation of activists, mainly foreign citizens, to be released. Some of them will stay in Consulate Generals of their countries in St. Petersburg, but not all diplomatic missions can provide accommodation, therefore accommodation in hotels and rented flats is also considered, Beneslavsky said.
“We have already had certain practices how to do this, but I cannot disclose them,” he said.
The head of Greenpeace office in St. Petersburg, Dmitry Artamonov, said by 14:00 Moscow time four people were released from St. Petersburg’s prisons - photographer Denis Sinyakov; Yekaterina Zaspa, a Russian medical worker on the campaign ship Arctic Sunrise; spokesman for the Greenpeace office in Russia Andrei Allakhverdov; and Ana Paula Alminhana Maciel of Brazil.
“Release documents for five more people have already been prepared,” he said.
The protesters were detained on September 18 when trying to climb the Prirazlomnaya rig from aboard the Arctic Sunrise. Their ship was towed to the port of Murmansk in northern Russia. In October, the Russian Investigative Committee dropped piracy charges against the group, replacing alleged piracy with an accusation of hooliganism.
In November St. Petersburg’s courts ruled to release most activists each on bail of two million rubles, except for Colin Russell of Australia, who might remain in custody until February 24, 2014.