Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Bail Granted for Several Jailed Greenpeace Activists in Russia

wo district courts in St. Petersburg granted bail Tuesday to several more Greenpeace activists awaiting trial, signaling a possible softening in the authorities’ stance over the case. Nine activists, including nationals of Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Finland, France, Italy, New Zealand and Poland, can leave their detention facilities after they have posted bail of 2 million rubles ($61,500) each, the courts ruled. A group of 28 Greenpeace activists and two reporters was initially charged with piracy for attempting in September to scale an Arctic Sea oil platform owned by an affiliate of energy giant Gazprom in protest at offshore drilling in the environmentally sensitive area. That charge was later downgraded to hooliganism, which is punishable by a maximum sentence of seven years in jail. Another three members of the group were granted bail Monday at another court in St. Petersburg. The environmental group said earlier in the day that it has already raised the funds to pay the bail. Greenpeace said in a statement that it was waiting for the Investigative Committee, which is handling the case, to provide details for a bank account into which the bail money can be transferred.

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