Greenpeace activists face jail extension

World wide protests to free the Greenpeace activists were held last Saturday. (Photo from Greenpeace's Twitter account)

State investigators have asked St.Petersburg courts to extend the detention of the so-called “Arctic 30” for further three months.


Russia wants to extend the detention of the Greenpeace activists arrested over a protest against Arctic oil drilling in September. The 28 activists and two journalists have been jailed in Murmansk for two months and were transferred to pre-trail centers in St. Petersburg last week.

Australian activist Colin Russell was the first to have his case heard on Monday. The court’s ruling – the he should remain in jail until February 24 next year pending trial, suggests the others have little hope for release.

Six other defendants – four activists and two freelance journalists, also have hearings on Monday.

Lawyers for Greenpeace will now appeal the decision and apply for bail for the detainees. If bail were to be granted it could be subject to travel restrictions while the investigation continues.

Prosecutors in court are not seeking extension of detention for piracy - the original charge brought against the 30. However, formal withdrawal of the piracy charge requires a written statement. Lawyers for the detainees have petitioned for such a statement but it has not been given, Greenpeace’s web site reads.