Human rights council will ask prosecutor general to drop piracy charge against Arctic Sunrise crew – Fedotov

Polar Map Showing Permafrost Areas, Adapted From NOAA.gov Graphic

(Interfax – MOSCOW, October 10, 2013) The piracy charges, based on which the crew of the Greenpeace icebreaker Arctic Sunrise was arrested, are ungrounded and should be reconsidered, Mikhail Fedotov, the head of the presidential human rights council, said.

“I hope this decision will be reconsidered. In any case, we will turn to the prosecutor general. He has potential for procedural action,” he told reporters in Moscow on Thursday.

“They can be accused of any crime: just open the Criminal Code. It’s totally obvious that the oilrig is not a vessel and is not registered in the register of vessels. No doubt, the crewmembers had no intention of taking over the oilrig, of taking over another’s property,” Fedotov said, referring to the Arctic Sunrise case.

“The piracy charges make no sense. In the same way, they can be accused of attempted gang rape,” he said.

The environmentalists’ arrest is an issue of international relations, bearing in mind that the Greenpeace vessel flies the flag of the Netherlands and 2013 was declared the year of the Netherlands in Russia.

“Some calm, diplomatic solutions need to be found here. Charging them with piracy simply means that we are showing strange grimaces to the world,” Fedotov said.

The Arctic Sunrise was detained on September 19 over a protest rally against the oil drilling activities of the Prirazlomnaya platform in the Pechora Sea. The vessel was brought to Murmansk and impounded.

All 30 crew members have been charged with “piracy committed by an organized group.” The defendants pled not guilty and refused to testify.