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St Petersburg City Court to reconsider access to Arctic Sunrise ship for Greenpeace

June 04, 2014, 17:27 UTC+3 ST. PETERSBURG
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
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© ITAR-TASS/Greenpeace press service

ST. PETERSBURG, June 04. /ITAR-TASS/. St. Petersburg City Court will hear an appeal from the international environmental organisation Greenpeace regarding the judgement of the Primorsky district court of St. Petersburg denying access to the Arctic Sunrise ship, arrested after the September 2013 storming of a Russian Arctic oil installation, Greenpeace spokeswoman Mariya Favorskaya told ITAR-TASS on Tuesday.

“The City Court has accepted our appeal for hearing,” she said.

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

On March 3, the organisation filed a formal petition with the Russian Investigative Committee regarding the release of the Arctic Sunrise ship, following the news that the Committee had prolonged its investigation into the protest. The petition argued that with all charges against the Arctic 30 activists dropped, the grounds on which the vessel had been originally detained were no longer present. Greenpeace International was also requesting access to the Arctic Sunrise in order to evaluate the ship's maintenance needs.

The Primorsky district court of St. Petersburg dismissed the organisation’s complaint, saying the preliminary investigation was not completed yet, and granting access to the ship might hinder legal proceedings.

Favorskaya said the period of investigation expired on May 24 but the Russian Investigative Committee made no statements whether it extended investigations or closed the case.

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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