Newport activist has piracy charges dropped - but still faces 7 years in jail
RUSSIA has dropped piracy charges against the Greenpeace activists, which includes a Newport man, but replaced them with hooliganism charges.
An official Greenpeace twitter account announced the news and stated that the new charges have a maximum penalty of up to seven years rather than 15 years for piracy.
Ex-Caldicot councillor and Newport man, Anthony Perrett was one of 28 Greenpeace activists and two journalists held after Russian security services stormed their ship, the Arctic Sunrise.
The ship was seized more than four weeks ago and the activists arrested for protesting at an oil rig.
Newport East MP Jessica Morden said: “It’s too early to know what the changes to the charge mean. But ultimately we want him back and it’s a step in the right direction.
“It’s still a disproportionate charge and we will keep campaigning for their release.”
Commenting on the reports, Vladimir Chuprov of Greenpeace Russia said: “The Arctic 30 are no more hooligans than they were pirates. This is still a wildly disproportionate charge that carries up to seven years in jail.
“It represents nothing less than an assault on the very principle of peaceful protest. Those brave men and women went to the Arctic armed with nothing more than a desire to shine a light on a reckless business. They should be with their families, not in a prison in Murmansk.”
He confirmed that they will contest the charge of hooliganism.
He added: “The Investigative Committee also say they may charge some activists with use of force against officials, carrying up to ten years in jail.
“They arrived at that oil rig in a ship painted with a dove and a rainbow. Our ship was seized by men with knives and guns, while the Arctic 30 raised their arms. They should be released immediately.”
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