ST. PETERSBURG, December 25 (Itar-Tass) - The criminal case against 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, will finally come to a close in early 2014, Andrey Suchkov, a lawyer for the detained environmentalists, said on Wednesday.
“I suppose this will be in the first working days of the next year,” he said, adding that in order to close the case, it was necessary to execute a large number of documents, including certificates of acceptance and transfer of the activists’ personal things and their ship, The Arctic Sunrise, which would be released after that.
Greenpeace announced on Tuesday that the Russian authorities had begun to drop the charges set against the Greenpeace activists. The move 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.
The organisation said it expected that all thirty crew members would have their cases closed in the next few days and manage to return home by the New Year.
On September 18, the campaign group's vessel 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 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.