MOSCOW, October 25 (Itar-Tass World Service). — Investigators have brought other charges against the Greenpeace activists who were detained on September 18 for their action at the Prirazlomnaya oil rig in the Pechora Sea, the Kommersant writes. The investigators do not view the environmentalists' attempt to hang a banner as piracy, but consider it as hooliganism. Lawyers, asked by the daily, believe the charge is more correct, but all the same not quite — in this case the activists' actions are viewed as violation of public order, but what is public in open sea is unclear.
The Russian Investigative Committee's spokesman Vladimir Markin said that the piracy charges were initially brought against the Greenpeace activists through their fault to some extent. Their refusal to testify gave all the reasons to thoroughly check all possible versions of the incident, including seizure of the rig, terrorism motives, illegal research activities and spying.
The investigators have concluded that the environmentalists' attempt on September 18 to hang a banner on the Prirazlomnaya rig in protest against oil extraction in the Arctic falls under the Russian Criminal Code article on "hooliganism committed by an organized group with objects used as arms and resistance to authorities".
Russian Greenpeace activist Andrei Alakhverdov was the first who was taken to the Investigative Committee's Murmansk department on Thursday. In his attorney's presence, he was informed that the criminal case on piracy charges against him was dismissed, and a new indictment was presented. "I think it will take a few days to bring charges against all the 30 arrested persons, British activist Anthony Perret's attorney Sergei Golubok told the Kommersant.
As for the consideration by the U.N. International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, to which the Netherlands (the ship was flying a Dutch flag) appealed earlier, demanding to free the ship and the crew, the change of charges will hardly have an effect. Russia will evade a tribunal trial only if the judges consider the investigation essence is not in the environmentalists' actions, but only in the legal sphere, but it is unlikely.