Russian president Vladimir Putin has said that although the Greenpeace activists seized and jailed in Russia, for staging a protest, are not pirates, they did break International law and have been denied bail.
Two Greenpeace activists attempted to scale a Russian oil rig in what Greenpeace has described as a “peaceful protest on a Gazprom oil platform,” which has lead to their arrests. The oil rig is the first, according to Greenpeace, to start oil production in the Arctic and Greenpeace has determined that this poses a threat to the fragile eco-system there.
Every action has a consequence, right?
This also pertains to the several Greenpeace activists and a photographer who have reportedly remained in custody for two months after being arrested. There have been no official charges of offense, as yet. While the Russian authorities are continuing with their investigations, the activists are being held in a pre-trial detention center.
Greenpeace has stated that it is Russia who is breaking the law by having the activists jailed and denied bail even though only two of their activists attempted to illegally board the Russian oil rig. One of the crew members, Iain Rogers, described the Russian justice system as “completely corrupt.” Iain Rogers is from Britain and is currently sentenced to prison for two months.
“I think it makes a complete sham of the Russian justice system and it’s embarrassing for the rest of the world,” he said.
“It makes you look stupid basically. And another thing, it’s making more of a situation, which is great, because that is what we want. We want attention (for the Save the Arctic campaign). So it’s really quite good in a way.”
Rogers does have a point. While the world decides who is in the wrong and who is in the right, all the media exposure is placing Russia in the hot seat.
It has been reported that Russia’s Investigative Committee (RIC) spokesman Vladimir Markin said that it is possible that some of those jailed may be released before their two months are up. This is dependent on the outcomes of the investigation into what role each activist played.
On September 19th, an armed task force of Russia’s FSB border control boarded the Greenpeace ship, the Arctic Sunrise.
With guns drawn, the masked Russian authorities invaded the ship from a helicopter in a dramatic show of power and control. Apparently, the activists were then gathered into the mess hall and held at gunpoint.
Despite the aggressive arrests, the coast guard described the detainees as being “guests.”
The arrest of the activists has spurred outrage across the globe as more than 30 different countries have held protests outside Russian embassies.
Many are saying that Greenpeace did, after all, break the law by attempting to board the Russian oil rig and therefore rendering their pleas for justice ungrounded. The Greenpeace Facebook page and Twitter account have done well in gathering comments and arguments for both the Russians and the activists. They have been posting regular updates, articles, photographs, and videos to generate more response from the public and general awareness about the situation.
As it stands now, Russia has denied bail to the 20 jailed Greenpeace activists in what seems to be a peacock show of power.
Written By: Jessica Rosslee