11 Nobel Peace Prize winners urge freedom to activists detained in Murmansk

Protester outside the court in Murmansk where the Greenpeace activists from the oil-rig protest vessel "Arctic Sunrise" have their cases heared.

The open letter calls on President Vladimir Putin to ensure that the piracy charges against the 28 Greenpeace activists and two freelancers are dropped.


“FreeTheArctic30” has become the most frequent Twitter hashtag from the Barents Region over the last few weeks as international calls to stop piracy prosecution against the crew from “Arctic Sunrise” increases.

Greenpeace was protesting Gazprom’s oil drilling in the Pechora Sea when they were arrested by the Russian Coast Guard and taken to Murmansk. All 30, including a freelance photographer and a freelance video journalist, are in custody awaiting the charges to be brought for the court. Over the last week, one after one of the detainees have had their pre-trial custody appeals turned down by the court in Murmansk.

The 11 Nobel Peace Prize winners, including South African Bishop Desmond Tutu, Northern Irish peace campaigner Betty Williams and former President of Costa Rica Oscar Arias Sanchez, writes in the urgent letter to Putin that he should do all he can “to ensure that the excessive charges of piracy against the 28 Greenpeace activists, a freelance photographer and freelance videographer are dropped, and that any charges brought are consistent with international and Russian law.”

“We, like millions of people around the world, are watching this case, eager to see Russian authorities drop the piracy charges, treat the “Arctic 30” in accordance with international law, reaffirm the right to nonviolent protest and rededicate its efforts to protecting the Arctic.”

The Peace Prize Winners also voice their concern over Arctic oil drilling’s impact on climate and nature damage that could result from possible oil spill.

“We urge all states to do their utmost to protect this precious treasure of humanity, while moving beyond a dependency on oil as an energy source. As one of the countries most directly concerned, we call on you to personally lead that effort, the letter to Putin reads.

Gazprom has said that production at Prirazlomnaya will start later this year. If started, the filed will be the first operational offshore oil-field in the Barents Euro-Arctic Region.