Eight Greenpeace activists to face court on Sunday
The Murmansk Leninsky Court will hear the case of eight Greenpeace activists from the Arctic Sunrise icebreaker on September 29. The period of their detention was extended for 72 hours on Thursday.
A court representative explained the reasons for the extended detention period to Interfax, stating that the search for translators and additional information to about the eight activists were why such an extension was necessary.
The court in Murmansk ordered the arrest of 22 out of 30 participants in the Greenpeace Arctic Sunrise action on Thursday.
The judges who chose the arrest as the measure of restraint for 22 suspects in the piracy case said the investigators had strong grounds to believe that it was a conspiracy and some of the criminal perpetrators remained unknown. The investigators also feared that the foreign citizens, who recognized the severity of the charge, would leave Russia if they were not incarcerated. The court, which ordered the arrest of Russian citizens, said they had no permanent place of residence in the Murmansk region.
Special-purpose forces of the Federal Security Service's Border Service stormed the Greenpeace Arctic Sunrise vessel on September 19. The environmentalists were protesting against the Prirazlomnaya drilling operations in the Pechora Sea.
The vessel was escorted to Murmansk on Tuesday. The Arctic Sunrise was manned by an international crew of 30, including four citizens of Russia. Greenpeace said the environmentalists were detained for 48 hours early on Wednesday morning and put into detention centers in Murmansk, Kola and Severomorsk.
Greenpeace Russia head Sergei Tsyplenkov told Interfax the activists wanted to hang a banner on the Prirazlomnaya platform to draw attention to the situation and the threats posed by such operations to Arctic ecosystems. Russian authorities called the environmentalists' action a premeditated provocation.