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MOSCOW, January 22. /ITAR-TASS/. A lawmaker from the Russian Liberal Democratic Party (LDPR) proposed on Wednesday to ban Greenpeace in Russia, claiming the international eco-organization was behind the recent arrest of a Russian fishing vessel in Senegal.
Russian trawler Oleg Naidyonov was seized and anchored at the port of Dakar by Senegalese military in early January on charges of illegal fishing. The Russian fisheries agency alleges Greenpeace encouraged the Senegalese authorities to arrest the vessel though the campaign group denies the allegation.
Addressing the State Duma lower house of Russia's parliament, LDPR lawmaker Roman Khudyakov said the arrest of the vessel was “an outrageous fact of disrespect and illegal activity in regard to Russia”.
The head of Greenpeace had been “openly stating in media interviews that the vessel’s arrest came after complaints from the environmentalists”, Khudyakov said, adding “This is not the first time Greenpeace activities are aimed against Russia” and noting that the environmentalists were taking revenge for the incident with a Russian Arctic oil rig last year.
Twenty-eight Greenpeace activists and two freelance journalists were arrested by Russian authorities after they attempted to storm Gazprom’s Prirazlomnaya oil rig in the Barents Sea last September.
They were initially charged with piracy but the indictment was reduced to one of hooliganism. Russia released the activists in December after dropping all allegations.
The vessel Oleg Naidyonov carried 62 Russians, mainly sailors from Murmansk region, and 20 Guinea-Bissau nationals.
Earlier in the week, Senegalese authorities agreed to release the ship. The owner's executive director said on Tuesday that the trawler would leave the port of Dakar on Wednesday.