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Greenpeace International seeks access to Arctic Sunrise ship

March 06, 2014, 19:22 UTC+3 ST. PETERSBURG
On Monday, the organization filed a formal petition with the Russian Investigative Committee regarding the release of the Arctic Sunrise ship
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© EPA/ANGELA KOLYADA

ST. PETERSBURG, March 06. /ITAR-TASS/. International environmental organization Greenpeace will request access to the Arctic Sunrise ship, arrested after the September 2013 storming of a Russian Arctic oil installation, the organization said on its website.

Greenpeace International said it had already applied to the Russian Investigative Committee in October 2013 and was denied access to the detained ship.

On Monday, the organization filed a formal petition with the Russian Investigative Committee regarding the release of the Arctic Sunrise ship, following the news that the Committee had extended its investigation into the protest.

The petition argues that with all charges against the Arctic 30 activists now dropped, the grounds on which the vessel was originally detained are no longer present. Greenpeace International is also requesting access to the Arctic Sunrise in order to evaluate the ship's maintenance needs.

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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.

Russia’s Investigative Committee has not stated yet a timeframe within which the Arctic Sunrise will be returned. Investigations in the case have been extended up to May 24 to examine computer evidence found aboard the ship.

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