Russia drops piracy charges

Russia has dropped piracy charges against Greenpeace activists, including two from London, involved in an Arctic protest. The charges have been replaced with a lesser charge of hooliganism.

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Hooligan charges 'still wildly disproportionate'

Greenpeace have confirmed that their activists have had the piracy charges against them dropped, but hit out at Russian authorities for their ongoing imprisonment, saying the charges are still "wildly disproportionate."

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.

We will contest the trumped up charge of hooliganism as strongly as we contested the piracy allegations. They are both fantasy charges that bear no relation to reality. The Arctic 30 protested peacefully against Gazprom's dangerous oil drilling and should be free.

Read: Russia 'drops piracy charges against Arctic activists'

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Greenpeace activist denied bail

The partner of a London greenpeace activist currently in jail in Russia has told ITV News of her shock at his detention.

Frank Hewetson was among 30 people on a boat protesting against Russia's plans to drill for oil in the Arctic. Today he became the second Londoner facing piracy charges to be denied bail. Our Political Correspondent Simon Harris reports.

Greenpeace bail decision 'flies in the face of all logic'

John Sauven, Executive Director of Greenpeace UK, said: "The court's refusal to grant bail to Frank Hewetson flies in the face of all logic. Frank, like the other 29 being held, presents no threat to Russia and should be allowed to return home to be with their families.

"Greenpeace has offered sureties that will guarantee the return of all of those charged for any future court case. This is looking a lot like punishment before conviction."

Frank Hewetson arriving at Murmansk Octyabrskii Regional Court for his bail hearing
Frank Hewetson arriving at Murmansk Octyabrskii Regional Court for his bail hearing Credit: Greenpeace/PA Wire
Hewetson was seized with 29 others on the Greenpeace ship the Arctic Sunrise
Hewetson was seized with 29 others on the Greenpeace ship the Arctic Sunrise Credit: Greenpeace/PA Wire

Greenpeace protester 'locked away from his family'

Frank has now spent three weeks locked up thousands of miles away from his family. He is accused of an absurd crime which clearly none of the Arctic 30 are guilty of committing.

The only thing he is guilty of is participating in an entirely peaceful protest to raise awareness of a cause that he passionately believes in - protecting the planet and the fragile wilderness of the Arctic.

He has two teenage children back home who miss him terribly, and not knowing when we'll be able to see him again is agony.

– Nina Gold, Frank Hewetson's partner

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Second Greenpeace crew member denied bail by Russia

A second member of the Greenpeace crew arrested by the Russian authorities during a protest against drilling in the Arctic has been denied bail. Frank Hewetson from North London was seized with 29 others on the Greenpeace ship the Arctic Sunrise on September 19.

Singer Damon Albarn and actor Jude Law seen earlier this month during a protest outside the Russian Embassy in London
Singer Damon Albarn and actor Jude Law seen earlier this month during a protest outside the Russian Embassy in London Credit: Press Assocation