First Russian nationals among Arctic 30 released from prison

Amsterdam, 21 November 2013 – Three Russian nationals, part of the so-called Arctic 30, have been released from prison, bringing to four the number of those freed after being granted bail this week by St Petersburg courts.

Amid a heavy media presence, Greenpeace International activist Andrey Allakhverdov and freelance photographer Denis Sinyakov were released from ‘SIZO 1’ detention centre shortly before midday in Russia and immediately reunited with their families. Greenpeace International activist Ekaterina Zaspa was released just after from the ‘SIZO 5’ detention centre and reunited with her husband.

All three were granted bail on Monday in the Kalininskiy Court in St Petersburg.

Mads Christensen of Greenpeace said:

“This is wonderful news and we’re working hard to ensure that everyone is released from detention as quickly as possible. These 30 brave men and women took action on behalf of us all to protect the Arctic from reckless oil drilling and to halt climate change. They’ve unjustly spent two months in detention for a crime they did not commit, locked away from loved ones. But they are still charged with a serious crime and could end up spending years in jail, while our friend Colin Russell was refused bail. Our work won’t be over until they are all free and these absurd charges are dropped.”

Denis is married and has a young son. He is a successful journalist and photographer who has worked internationally in his field for 10 years. Andrey, an experienced radio journalist, joined Greenpeace Russia in 2012. He is married and has a teenage son.

Activist Ana Paula Alminhana Maciel was released from prison on Wednesday. Ana Paula’s passport has now been given back to her and she has been given a special registration card stating that she legally arrived in the Russian Federation.

It’s not yet clear whether the same procedure will apply to all of those who are not Russian nationals, but everyone released will for now stay in St Petersburg. There is no clarity on when the Arctic 30 will be able to return home.

In court hearings this morning in St Petersburg, Greenpeace International activists Jonathan Beauchamp (NZ), Ruslan Yakushev (Ukraine) and Frank Hewetson (UK) were granted bail today, bringing the total to 23 who have been granted bail.

Activist Colin Russell (Australia) remains in detention after being refused bail on Monday, the only member of the Arctic 30 to have his bail request denied. An appeal against his continued detention has now been lodged with the Primorskiy court and a new hearing is expected to be held next week.

Today’s hearings in Primorskiy court, with local times: 10:30 Alexandre Paul (Canada), 14:00 Gizhem Akhan (Turkey). Today’s hearings at the Kalininskiy court: 12:00 Iain Rogers (UK).