American Pete Willcox appeared this morning before a court in Murmansk. He was the captain of the Arctic Sunrise when it was seized last month by armed men from the Russian security forces. He was also the captain of the Rainbow Warrior in 1985 when it was bombed by the French secret service, killing Greenpeace photographer Fernando Pereira.
Another Greenpeace International activist refused bail today (Monday) was Camila Speziale, who has joint Argentinian and Italian citizenship. The bail hearings for Italian Cristian D’Alessandro and David Haussmann from New Zealand are expected to be resolved later today.
Commenting on the latest developments Peter Willcox’s wife Maggie Willcox said:
“Most people try to do at least something for the greater good, sometimes occasionally, sometimes for sustained periods. Rarely do people devote their entire life trying to make the world a better place. Peter is one of those rare people. He is a hero not a pirate. I appeal to the common sense and conscience of the Russian authorities to let my husband and the rest of the people from the Arctic Sunrise come home.”
Following the seizure of his ship last month, Willcox refused a demand made under armed guard by Russian authorities to sail the Arctic Sunrise toward the Russian port city of Murmansk. Instead the ship was towed. In a 1993 Hollywood film about the bombing of the Rainbow Warrior, the role of Pete Willcox was played by Oscar-winning actor Jon Voight – father of Angelina Jolie.
Speaking in court today Camila Speziale, 21, from Argentina said today:
“I’m innocent and I do not understand what I’m accused of. I don’t have anything against your country. Russia and Argentina have good relations. But now I’m arrested for something I haven’t done. I really want to come back to my country and continue working and studying. I’m considered to be dangerous for society, but how it can be so? The whole world is demanding my release. Gracias.”
Camila was wearing a t-shirt that her parents have sent her, on which are printed the hands and names of the Speziale family.
In a letter published on Sunday, Swiss activist Marco Weber said although he was being held alone in a cell, and had little or no contact with the outside world, apart from weekly visits by his lawyer and the Swiss consul, he had no regrets. “I faced the danger and the risk, which brought me here in this prison, because I’m convinced that we have the power to bring change.”
In a letter to his family, Kieron Bryan, 29, a freelance film-maker from London, said he was well, apart from the “horrible uncertainty and anxiety”. In the letter, also published Sunday, he said:
“The food is basic or grim but I’ll not starve… Lack of communication has been really tough – I just hope my lawyer can get messages to you.”
Today the Russian Presidential Human Rights Council is expected to submit an appeal to the Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation, Yuri Chaika, regarding the arrest of the 30. The head of the Human Rights Council Mikhail Fedotov stated last week that charges of piracy against the Greenpeace International crew, activists and two freelance journalists were groundless and unlawful. Now the other members of the Council have supported the initiative to appeal to the Prosecutor.
Full letter from Marco Weber:
Hello everyone! Out there 😉
Sorry my English is not very good, and my writing even worse! But I guess you will figure it out.
I am now for about 12 days alone in a cell. I don’t have books, newspaper, TV or someone to talk to. At the daily walk I am also isolated. The 4×5 metre “walkyard” is surrounded by concrete walls and covered with iron bars. On top is a roof, which doesn’t allow the sunshine in.
The only sky I can see is out of my cell window , which is placed in the northern wall of the building. This means no sun at all. Days are long! The highlights are weekly visits of my lawyer and consul. And yesterday I got the first bunch of email from the outside! Yehaa…
The aggressive and unfair acting of the Russian government and Gazprom shows how important it is, that decisions about Arctic and its future are made by global public. And not by states and companies which are blinded by its resources and short term profits.
At the 18 September I faced danger and the risk ending up in jail, because I am sure that WE have the power to make a change! WE the massive amount of people worldwide which are brave and concerned enough to fight for a future to coming generations. Because we see the dependency of our future existing to the acting now.
Let’s save the Arctic and with it also the chance of future for mankind. Your support and the knowledge that we have done the right thing keeps me above water. Thank you very much for your kind words, love and care you give to me.
You are incredibly important!