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Oct-12-2013 16:35printcomments

PETITION: Russia Must Free Greenpeace Activists

On September 18th, Greenpeace activists attempted to peacefully occupy an off-shore oil platform owned by Russian oil giant Gazprom . But when they arrived, the Russian Coast Guard fired warning shots and threatened the activists' lives.

Greenpeace protests Gazprom
Courtesy: greenpeace.org

(WASHINGTON DC) - On September 18th, Greenpeace activists attempted to peacefully occupy an off-shore oil platform owned by Russian oil giant Gazprom. But when they arrived, the Russian Coast Guard fired warning shots and threatened the activists' lives. Then, Russian Coast Guard officers illegally boarded and seized the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise via helicopter.

After nearly two weeks since the action started, the Russian authorities charged 28 international activists, one independent photographer and one independent videographer with piracy.  They are to be detained on these charges for two months. Appeals have been filed for all 30 charges. We're mounting an international effort to get them back safely along with the release of the Greenpeace ship. And it starts with people around the world putting pressure on the Russian government.

Greenpeace offices around the world have already sent 500,000 global petitions to the Russian government, and they're receiving them daily.  Join this symbolic moment to protect our planet and our right to peacefully protest the actions of those who threaten to destroy it.

Please join our activists in becoming an Arctic Defender. Sign our petition to Russia's US ambassador demanding Russia release the activists, the immediate withdrawal of the Russian Coast Guard from the Greenpeace ship, and an end to offshore oil drilling in the Arctic for good.

I am writing to you with a request for your attention and action.

As you may know, 28 Greenpeace activists (as well as a freelance photographer and a freelance videographer) took part in a peaceful protest at Gazprom's drilling platform Prirazlomnaya on September 18th.

Two of the activists tried to climb the side of the platform and attempted to stage a safe, peaceful protest. More than 24 hours later, Russian security services descended from a helicopter onto the deck of the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise, seized the ship at gunpoint and detained the crew. This took place outside Russia's territorial waters.

These activists and freelancers are now being held in detention centers in and around Murmansk. I am very concerned by the response of Russian authorities. The charge of piracy, which carries a maximum 15 year sentence, is disproportionate. Yet this is the charges our activists face.

You have an important voice in this matter. Please use your position to promote fairness and reason.

The crew of the Arctic Sunrise were protesting at the Prirazalomnaya for purely unselfish reasons. As the ice is retreating, oil companies are moving north to drill for the fuels that are causing the ice to melt. The Arctic 30 were acting out of a deeply held conviction that this is a risky enterprise, when an oil spill would be catastrophic for the entire region. They should not be charged with such a serious crime as piracy for taking peaceful, safe action to protest the dangerous industrialization of the Arctic.

Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Nobel peace prize winner Adolfo Pérez Esquivel have joined hundreds of thousands of people across the globe calling for the release of the Arctic 30.

I am writing to add my voice.

I am asking for your help.

Please join me in calling for:

Piracy charges to be dropped and the immediate release of the 28 activists and two freelancers who have been detained by Russian authorities in Murmansk.

A commitment that the activists and freelancers will have access to full legal representation of their own choice, as well as consular services, translators, and human rights inspectors.

An investigation into the destructive and secretive activities of oil companies in the Arctic, and a ban on offshore oil drilling in the region.

I urge you to relay these requests to the Russian government in Moscow immediately. Please join me in calling for the swift release of the Arctic 30.

Signed,

Greenpeace

Sign the Petition Here

Special thanks to Merton Palestine Solidarity-Campaign

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Bill Annett October 13, 2013 8:07 am (Pacific time)

I've heard of some stupid petitions in my day, in fact I've signed a thousand or two myself. But this one takes the fur-lined pisspot. Can't you just see Putin reading it and saying: "Oh, my, a petition for the Greenpeace guys. How touching. What solidarity! Release them at once." I love the Greenpeace guys for all they do, but let's get realistic. I'd rather sign a petition addressed to Stephen Harper that he pony up about 10 million rubles to bail them out and then ask Putin to take a hike.

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Sean Flynn was a photojournalist in Vietnam, taken captive in 1970 in Cambodia and never seen again.


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