Russia releases six Greenpeace activists on bail

Russia releases six Greenpeace activists on bail
Anthony Perrett.

Russian authorities have released six Greenpeace activists on bail who were involved in protest in the Arctic.

It comes after they spent two months in detention.

Anthony Perrett, from Newport in South Wales, is the first of the six Britons who are part of the so-called Arctic 30 to leave detention.

Five other activists, Swiss national Marco Weber, Faiza Oulahsen from the Netherlands, American Peter Willcox, Alex Harris from Devon and London journalist Kieron Bryan were also released from detention today, bringing to 15 the number freed on bail.

They were granted bail yesterday along with .

The move followed a court hearing in St Petersburg.

Greenpeace said it expected to pay bail for six more members of the Arctic 30 today, potentially resulting in the release of 26 of the group before the weekend.

Russian media reports quoted the Russian migration service as saying that the released foreign nationals will not be allowed to leave St Petersburg and will have to remain while investigations continue.

Greenpeace said it could not confirm the reports until the bail conditions were known.

“For now, the foreign nationals will stay at a safe place in St Petersburg. There is still no clarity on when the Arctic 30 can leave Russia and finally be able to return home,” said a spokesman

The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) will announce its ruling today in a case brought by the Netherlands seeking the immediate release and repatriation of the detainees, and the end of all legal proceedings against them.

Jasper Teulings, general counsel at Greenpeace International, said: “In lodging this lawsuit, the Dutch government took a strong stance in support of the rule of law and the right to peaceful protest and for that we are grateful. The Netherlands has argued that Russia had no right to board and detain the Arctic Sunrise and all on board and that all subsequent steps have been an ongoing and serious violation of the rights of the Netherlands as flag State. Greenpeace is confident that the Tribunal will take appropriate account of the fundamental rights of the Arctic 30 and we hope its provisional ruling will lead to their release.”

Appeals have been lodged against the continued detention of Colin Russell.

Mr Perrett is a tree surgeon and director of a community interest company which encourages and supports the use of renewable energy.

He said the Arctic was where the battle to save the planet will be fought.

Friends said he went to the Arctic driven by his belief that there are ways to live on this planet without destroying it. Before he left, he said he was nervous, but not afraid of going on the trip.

The 30 were arrested during a protest against drilling in the Arctic and were initially held in Murmansk before being moved to St Petersburg.

They were charged with piracy but the authorities said this would be changed to hooliganism.

Greenpeace said the 30 had done nothing wrong, and the group has launched a worldwide campaign to have them freed.

Greenpeace International Arctic campaigner Ben Ayliffe said: ``This is a wonderful moment for Anthony and his family and friends. But this will only really be over when he and the others are able to go home.

“For now, we are allowing ourselves a sigh of relief, all the time remembering that those brave men and women are still charged with a crime they didn’t commit, and of course our friend Colin was refused bail. This saga is far from over.

“The detainees who were released yesterday slept well last night, though some of them stayed up late talking and talking, sharing experiences. They’ve been enjoying the taste of good food and the feel of thick mattresses, but they keep talking about Colin, asking when he’ll be out, and they don’t yet know if they can go back home or if they’ll have to stay in St Petersburg.”

Australian Colin Russell, a radio engineer, was refused bail earlier this week.

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