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Russia drops criminal case against Arctic Sunrise captain

December 25, 2013, 18:46 UTC+3 25
Greenpeace expressed hope that all thirty crew members would have their cases closed December 25
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ST. PETERSBURG, December 25 (Itar-Tass) - Russia has dropped the criminal case against US citizen Peter Willcox, the captain of the Greenpeace protest ship, and several other foreign activists from the ecological movement Greenpeace, who were arrested on criminal charges for participating in the September campaign at the Prirazlomnaya oil platform in the Arctic, a Greenpeace representative told Itar-Tass on Wednesday.

The Greenpeace organisation expressed hope that all thirty crew members would have their cases closed today.

The move to drop the charges against the Greenpeace activists is part of a new amnesty law that came into effect last week in Russia. Amnesty notifications will allow the foreign activists to obtain transit visas necessary to leave Russia. It is expected that British activist Anthony Perrett, who became the first of the Arctic 30 to have the criminal against him officially dropped, will receive the visa tomorrow, on Thursday.

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 crew members - nationals of 18 different 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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