Russia downgrades Greenpeace 30 charges from piracy to hooliganism

Ria Novosti reports:

Investigators in Russia said Wednesday that they have dropped piracy charges against environmental activists and freelance journalists detained last month aboard a Greenpeace ship.

Investigative Committee chief Vladimir Markin said the group will instead be charged with hooliganism.

……. Hooliganism in Russia carries a maximum penalty of seven years in jail.

Russian authorities seized Greenpeace’s Arctic Sunrise icebreaker in mid-September after activists tried to scale an oil rig in the Arctic in protest against offshore drilling in the area. All 30 people on board – comprising 28 Greenpeace activists and two freelance journalists – were detained and later charged with piracy, which is punishable by up to 15 years in prison. …

Markin of Russia’s Investigative Committee also said some members of the group could face charges of using force against state officials.

He said the Greenpeace group’s lack of cooperation with investigators had unnecessarily drawn out the process.

“The failure of the accused to give evidence gave cause for investigators to carefully consider all alternative versions of what took place,” Markin said.

He said investigators needed to consider whether the Greenpeace group had attempted to board the oil platform for financial gain, terrorism or to conduct illicit research activities and espionage.

 

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