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Russia starts refunding bail money in Arctic Sunrise case

January 21, 2014, 16:28 UTC+3 ST. PETERSBURG
The ship contained complex technical equipment and its transfer required presence of specialists who would decide on possible repair work
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Argentine Greenpeace activist Camila Speziale (R) is welcome by a member of Greenpeace upon her at the Ministro Pistarini International Airport in Buenos Aires

Argentine Greenpeace activist Camila Speziale (R) is welcome by a member of Greenpeace upon her at the Ministro Pistarini International Airport in Buenos Aires

© EPA/DANIEL JAYO

ST. PETERSBURG, January 21. /ITAR-TASS/. Russian authorities have started returning bail sureties put up by Greenpeace organization for all the environmental activists arrested on criminal charges for the September 2013 storming of a Russian Arctic oil installation, campaign lawyer Anton Beneslavsky said on Tuesday.

“It is being returned now,” he said, adding that the activists’ personal belongings and their ship, the Arctic Sunrise, were also being transferred.

“Most documents have already been returned,” Beneslavsky said, noting that it was unclear, though, when the campaign group’s ship, still under arrest in the port of Murmansk, would be released.

The ship contained complex technical equipment and its transfer required presence of specialists who would decide on possible repair work, the lawyer explained.

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Twenty-eight activists and two freelance journalists were arrested by Russian authorities after they attempted to scale Gazprom’s Prirazlomnaya oil rig in the Barents Sea.

They were seized by Russian security guards and their vessel was towed to the port of Murmansk. The protesters — nationals of 18 countries and four Russians — were initially taken into custody on charges of piracy, later downgraded to hooliganism.

After two months in a Russian jail, the activists were released on bail. In December last year, Russia formally dropped criminal charges against all the crew, released under a Kremlin-backed amnesty. All the 26 foreign activists returned home by the end of last year.

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