Murmansk court jails all 30 Greenpeace oil protesters

Greenpeace activist Juni Saarela from Finland was held in a cage while her pre-trail detention case was ruled in Murmansk on Sunday.

Finnish citizen Sini Saarela was given two months of pre-trial detention by the Leninski court on Sunday, like the other 29 crew members from “Arctic Sunrise” that protested Russia’s oil-drilling in the Pechora Sea.


It was a busy day for the district court downtown Murmansk on Sunday as the judge ruled a two-month pre-trial detention to rest of the crew members from the Greenpeace vessel “Arctic Sunrise.” All 30, from 19 different countries, will have to spend the next two months in custody awaiting the prosecutor to build the case. 

The Greenpeace activists were all arrested after the Russian Coast Guard took over their vessel following the protest at Gazprom’s Prirazolomnaya rig on September 18. The organization pledged to appeal all detentions, claiming “Arctic Sunrise” was illegally boarded in international waters.

The detained activists still face charges of piracy, despite President Vladimir Putin’s statement last week that “it is obvious that they are not pirates.” Russian law carries a jail term of up to 15 years in prison for piracy.

Finland’s Foreign Minister, Erkki Tuomioja, says Monday to YLE that “The legal grounds for a piracy charge do not apply here.” Finland’s consul in Murmansk, Martti Ruokokoski, says Sini Saarela is in good spirits despite her imprisonment. 

In a statement voiced from inside her cage in the courtroom, Sini Saarela said “I’m an honest person and always ready to be responsible for what I have done. I am not a pirate. Drilling for oil in ice is a tremendous threat to the environment in Russia and across the Arctic.” Her statement is posted on Greenpeace’s own portal.