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Russian migration service prepared to issue visas to Greenpeace activists

December 05, 2013, 19:06 UTC+3 5

Federal law states that the exit from the country by foreign nationals detained on the suspicion of committing an offence may be restricted

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ST.PETERSBURG, December 5. /ITAR-TASS/ - Russian migration authorities are ready to issue transit visas to foreign activists from the ecological movement Greenpeace, who participated in the recent campaign at the Prirazlomnaya oil platform in the Arctic, in the event the Investigative Committee gives its permission, the head of the Federal Migration Service of St. Petersburg and the Leningrad Region, Elena Dunayeva, said on Thursday.

“Being an authorized body for granting transit visas, we are ready to do it in the event the Investigative Committee provides us with documents stating there are no obstacles for foreign citizens to leave the country,” she said.

Article 28 of the federal law on the procedure for exiting and entering the Russian Federation stipulates that the exit from the country by foreign nationals detained on the suspicion of committing an offence may be restricted until a judgement on the case is pronounced,” Dunayeva explained. “A body investigating the case is entitled to decide whether or not to restrict the exit.”

“The situation is not typical. If we have documents saying that there are no obstacles, we will issue transit visas,” Dunayeva said.

On Wednesday, Greenpeace International told Itar-Tass that activists’ lawyers had asked the Russian Investigative Committee to grant their defendants exit visas. In the event of approval, 26 residents of 17 countries will be able to leave Russia before the termination of the investigation.

On September 18, the campaign group's ship The Arctic Sunrise reached the Prirazlomnaya oil drilling platform in the Barents Sea, where activists tried to climb on board.

They were seized by Russian security guards and their vessel was towed to the port of Murmansk. Thirty crewmembers - nationals of 19 countries, including four Russians, - were detained.

After two months in a Russian jail facing charges of piracy, later reduced to hooliganism, they were granted bail last month.

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