UPDATE-25 foreigners among Arctic 30 leave Russia

arctic 30St Petersburg, 28 December 2013 – Twenty-five of the 26 foreigners among the Arctic 30 have left Russia for home. The last activist will leave the country on Sunday.

The first of the non-Russian nationals left the country on Thursday, followed by 24 others on Friday, 100 days since the Greenpeace International ship Arctic Sunrise was seized in international waters after a peaceful Arctic oil protest.

Before boarding her flight on Friday, Camila Speziale, 21, of Argentina, said:

“I spent two months in isolation, unable to see the sun or breathe fresh air. I didn’t know how long I was going to be there. The conscious part of your mind tells you that it can’t last too long, but then you dream at night that you’re in jail and you still wake up to see the nightmare is real.

“I should have been allowed to go back home long ago. I faced 15 years in prison, but I’ve now been given an amnesty for a crime that never happened. My freedom was unjustly stolen from me and I deserve an apology. But freedom is in your mind and the thought of this helped get me through this.

“I took part in a peaceful protest against Arctic oil drilling because letting the planet fall apart is not an option. The risk I took was worth it. If we did not take any action, we would be surrendering our planet to the oil companies. We cannot stop now. We must continue to stand up for our beliefs.”

The Arctic 30 were seized by armed commandos in international waters on September 19 after attempting to attach a banner to an Arctic oil platform operated by Gazprom. They were granted amnesty by the Duma (Russian parliament) following a global campaign to free them.