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Russia's political leadership unwilling to interfere in case of Greenpeace activists

November 22, 2013, 19:04 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Putin: there are certain legal procedures and we’re simply unable to interfere in the legal side of this case

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© ITAR-TASS/Alexei Nikolsky

MOSCOW, November 22. /ITAR-TASS/. Russia's political leadership does not have any willingness to interfere in the case of Greenpeace activists, President Vladimir Putin said Friday after talks with visiting Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

“There are certain legal procedures and we’re simply unable to interfere in the legal side of this case,” he said.

“We don’t have absolutely any intention to make deteriorate anything or to keep someone in custody,” he said and added jokingly. “Everyone will gather in Turkey soon and work over your projects appropriately.”

He also joked about the impossibility for Erdogan to take the Turkish female activist of Greenpeace, Gizem Akhan, along with him back home, since the Turkish Prime Minister had come to Russia together with his wife.

Erdogan said Putin and he had discussed the Akham problem and he praised the fact that she had been released on bail. It is really important to get out of jail for someone who knows the taste of freedom, he said.

Gizem Akham was one of the thirty activists of Greenpeace who arrived in Russia’s exclusive economic zone in the Pechora Sea September18 aboard the Dutch icebreaker The Arctic Sunrise. The ship approached a Russian oil drilling platform belonging to the company Gazprom Neft and the activists made an attempt to get over to it, allegedly in protest of the growing oil and gas production on the shelf of Arctic seas.

Their action was aborted by maritime border guards and The Arctic Sunrise was towed to the port of Murmansk.

Upon arrival there, all the thirty people aboard including four Russian citizens were arrested. The authorities initially charged them with sea piracy but the charges were redefined as hooliganism later.

Earlier this month, the arrested Greenpeace activists were transported from Murmansk to St Petersburg. Local courts issued resolutions this week to release on bail the majority of participants in the scandalous action.

Seventeen of the individuals featured in the case have already gotten out of detention and Colin Russell of Australia is the only one, on whom the court passed a different decision. His arrest has been extended for another three months through to February 24.

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