December 12, 2013
Greenpeace boss urges meeting with Putin, Moscow reveals 'narcotics' accusations
Greenpeace International Executive Director Kumi Naidoo has written to Russian President Vladimir Putin to demand a one-to-one meeting seeking to unblock the conflict that keeps 28 activists and 2 freelance phtographers arrested in Murmansk facing a piracy sentence since September.
According to the environmental organization, the message was delivered at the Russian embassy in The Hague with Mr. Naidoo offering himself as a “guarantor for the good conduct of the Greenpeace activists.”
“I am willing to move my life to Russia for the duration of this affair. I would offer myself as a guarantor for the good conduct of the Greenpeace activists, were they to be released on bail. They, we, Greenpeace, do not believe us to be above the law. We are willing to face the consequences of what we did, as long as those consequences are within a nation’s criminal code as any reasonable person understands that code to be,” Greenpeace chief’s said in the letter sent to President Putin as he also demands the “immediate release of the two independent freelancers, who are not Greenpeace members,”
“It is clear from your own statements that you do not regard the activists as pirates, although that is the charge leveled against them. You, in common with millions around the world, know that in being accused of piracy they are charged with a crime that did not happen that our activists are accused of an imaginary offence. Indeed, you have previously said that you have admiration for groups like Greenpeace, and that our protests inspire sympathy in you. Were our friends to be released on bail, I offer myself as security against the promise that the twenty-eight Greenpeace International activists will answer for their peaceful protest according to the criminal code of Russia,” the message reads.
Among the 30-member group that has been arrested back in September following a peaceful protest on September 18 when they tried to scale Russia’s state-run Gazprom's Prirazlomnaya offshore oil platform to condemn Arctic offshore drilling, are Argentineans Camila Speziale and Hernán Pérez Orsi.
But just as Greenpeace seeks a way out to the escalating row, Russian authorities have been reported to be analyzing further charges as the Investigative Committee in charge of the case has said it has found “narcotics” on board of the Arctic Sunrise, the icebreaker that was carrying the activists the day of the protest.
“During the onboard inspection, narcotic substances (presumably opiate and morphine) have been found. Their origin is being studied as well as its use,” committee spokesman Vladimir Markin announced today and explained that current piracy “charges” are expected to be “corrected” with some activists facing now “more serious accusations.”