Greenpeace compares Arctic Sunrise incident with Rainbow Warrior disaster
Director of Greenpeace's Russian programs Ivan Blokov compared the detention of Arctic Sunrise activists with the incident involving the Greenpeace trawler Rainbow Warrior in the 1980s.
"What happened yesterday, was Russia's most aggressive unfriendly move - to use the diplomatic language - against Greenpeace since the Rainbow Warrior vessel was blown up. We have known no other such incident in Greenpeace's history, where the state would act so aggressively after a peaceful protest that has nothing to do with crime," he said at a press conference at Interfax.
What occurred in the Pechora Sea can in no way be qualified as piracy, he said.
"Everyone except the law enforcement services in Murmansk understands that what happened in the North is in no way piracy," Blokov said.
Greenpeace International's defense attorney Daniel Simons said in a video link from Murmansk that there cannot be and there are no elements of crime defined as "piracy" in the activists' behavior. "The name of our organization has the word 'peace' in it. All of our actions are peaceful," he said.
"Piracy" involves an attack on a ship for the purpose of seizing its property. There was not a single element of this kind in the activists' actions, he added. A static platform is not a ship. No violence was committed, or planned," Simons said.
The head of Greenpeace's temporary office in Murmansk Dmitry Artamonov said the environmentalists' detention and further moves with regards to them were carried out in violation of the law. "We have registered so many violations that we will have to think which ones we will appeal against first," he said.
The legal duration of preliminary detention cannot exceed 48 hours, but it was calculated with violations. Defense lawyers were not allowed to see the activists, who were not provided with the materials of the investigation to read.
Greenpeace's Rainbow Warrior took part in a series of protests against whale and seal hunting, and against nuclear weapons testing. It was sunk in a New Zealand harbor in July 1985. A investigation ended with the arrest of French agents. The scandal that ensued led to the French defense minister's resignation.