ST. PETERSBURG, December 18 (Itar-Tass) - Greenpeace International organisation has expressed confidence that foreign activists from the ecological movement Greenpeace, who participated in the latest campaign at the Prirazlomnaya oil platform in the Arctic, fall within the scope of the extended amnesty resolution, adopted by Russia’s State Duma lower house of parliament on Wednesday.
“Our lawyers estimate that the activists come within the purview of the new amnesty resolution,” Greenpeace spokeswoman Mariya Favorskaya told Itar-Tass on Wednesday.
“In this case they will not have to admit their guilt,” she added.
The presidential bill on amnesty on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Russian Constitution, which was passed by the State Duma in the first reading on Tuesday, largely extended the list of people liable to the amnesty. Today, the State Duma has adopted the document in the second reading. The third, technical, reading will take place after 4 p.m. Moscow time on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, a number of amendments have already been introduced to the draft resolution. In particular, it has been proposed to extend the amnesty to the excluded Criminal Code Articles 212 (Participation in Mass Riots) and 213 (Hooliganism), parts 2 and 3, in order to ensure equal rights of convicts and suspects. Initially, the amnesty was to be granted to those charged under these articles only after a judgement on a case is pronounced, in contrast to a single approach towards convicts and suspects charged under other articles.
It is under these articles of the Russian Criminal Code that a number of suspects in Bolotnaya Square case of mass riots and Greenpeace activists are charged, “even if they face trial a year after the declaration of amnesty”, Pavel Krasheninnikov, the head of the State Duma Committee on Civil, Criminal, Arbitration and Procedural Legislation said earlier. Now they are eligible for the amnesty even if investigations have not been started yet.
Greenpeace activists have been released on bail and are currently staying at a hotel in St. Petersburg.
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.