A NEWPORT eco-activist arrested by Russia and charged with piracy has not had the charges dropped, according to Greenpeace.

Anthony Perrett, 32, is among six Britons held following a Greenpeace protest at an Arctic oil rig.

It emerged last week that charges of piracy against Mr Perrett and other Greenpeace activists had been swapped with charges of hooliganism, which carry a maximum sentence of seven years. But Greenpeace is claiming the charges have still not been dropped

Russia’s Investigative Committee announced last week that the piracy charges, which carry a 15-year jail sentence, would be replaced with charges of hooliganism.

But Greenpeace says when the 30 detainees were brought before the committee over the course of this week, the piracy charge was not withdrawn and instead each of them was served with the additional charge of hooliganism.

They say they now stand accused of both offences.

A Greenpeace spokesman said: “The authorities clearly stated to the world’s media that the absurd charge of piracy would be withdrawn, but they have not been true to their word.”

A total of 30 activists were held last month when armed Russian officials boarded their vessel, the Arctic Sunrise.

Mr Perrett, a former Caldicot Town Council councillor, is a tree surgeon and director of a community interest company that encourages the use of renewable energy.

He also trains with the Severn Area Rescue Association (SARA).

Kumi Naidoo, Greenpeace International executive director, said: “As things stand the Russian authorities propose to jail 30 men and women for maybe 20years because two peaceful protesters tried to hang small yellow banner from the side of a 500,000 tonne oil platform.

“They are neither pirates nor hooligans, they are simply people possessed of a conscience who care about our common future and they should be released immediately.”

The 28 Greenpeace International activists, freelance photographer and videographer, were charged with piracy following a peaceful protest against Arctic oil drilling at a Gazprom oil platform in the Pechora Sea.