Greenpeace Calls for Immediate Release of 'Arctic 30'

MURMANSK, Russia, Oct. 18 (UPI) — The environmental activist group Greenpeace Friday called on Russia to release the 30 jailed members of the Arctic Sunrise immediately.

The “Arctic 30” were arrested by Russian authorities Sept. 18 after two Greenpeace activists tried to scale the side of an oil rig operated by the Russian energy giant Gazprom, CNN reported.

The 30, which include volunteers and crew members from South America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand, as well a Russian freelance photographer and ship cooks from Turkey and Ukraine, are jailed in Murmansk on piracy charges.

“The activists have found themselves embroiled in something that has larger implications,” said Maggy Willcox, who is married to the captain of the Arctic Sunrise, Peter Willcox.

Greenpeace Friday held more than 100 events worldwide to call on Russian authorities to release the Arctic 30, the organization said in a release.

“It is now 30 days since our ship was seized and our 30 friends and colleagues were detained. They now face a charge of piracy — an absurd charge that carries a maximum 15 year jail sentence,” said Greenpeace International Executive Director Kumi Naidoo. “The Arctic 30 were standing up for all of us, defending a fragile environment and a climate in crisis and now we must stand with them. Their detention is an attack against every single person who has ever been willing to raise their voice to demand a better future for themselves and their children. Now these 30 people are prisoners of conscience and we are all responsible for their fate.”

“Greenpeace does not think it is above the law, but those 30 brave men and women are not pirates and this charge is a clear attempt to deter peaceful protest. We are here today to show our solidarity with the Arctic 30 and defend the right to peaceful protest. We call for their immediate release,” Naidoo said.