Russian Authorities Charge Greenpeace Activists With Piracy

The demonstrators face up to 15 years in jail if found guilty.

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On Wednesday Russian authorities charged five Greenpeace activists with piracy, after they seized the Arctic Sunrise, a Greenpeace ship in north-west Russia, and detained all on board. 25 others face similar charges.

The activists were protesting against Russian oil giant Gazprom's plans for energy expansion, and specifically against drilling in the Arctic. If found guilty in Russian courts, the activists face up to 15 years in prison.

The executive director of Greenpeace International, Kumi Naidoo, tweeted that the decision by Russian authorities to charge the activists was "the most serious threat to Greenpeace's peaceful environmental activism" since the sinking of the Greenpeace Rainbow Warrior ship in 1985.

This is the most serious threat to @Greenpeace’s peaceful environmental activism since agents of French secret service bombed @gp_warrior.

Kumi Naidoo

@kuminaidoo

This is the most serious threat to @Greenpeace’s peaceful environmental activism since agents of French secret service bombed @gp_warrior.

/ Via

(3) I call on people from across the world and especially the good people of Russia, to come to their aid at this moment and join us.

Kumi Naidoo

@kuminaidoo

(3) I call on people from across the world and especially the good people of Russia, to come to their aid at this moment and join us.

/ Via

The arrests come one month after the the Russian Coast Guard detained all members of Greenpeace onboard the Arctic Sunrise who were protesting against the Prirazlomnaya oil rig, an operation of Gazprom. They were protesting against the environmental threats caused by the company's plan to drill for oil in the Arctic.

Although a spokesman for Russia's Investigative Committee, Vladimir I. Markin, said, "All those who carried out the attack on the platform will face criminal charges, regardless of their nationality," Russian President Vladimir Putin has publicly stated that the protesters are not pirates.

First look at images of Arctic Sunrise seizure at gunpoint. The pirates here are Gazprom. #FreeTheArctic30

Arctic Sunrise

@gp_sunrise

First look at images of Arctic Sunrise seizure at gunpoint. The pirates here are Gazprom. #FreeTheArctic30

/ Via

Although reports say five have been charged, Greenpeace reports the number as 13.

Saddest recap we have ever written: 13 of our activists and 1 freelance videographer have been charged with piracy #FreeTheArctic30

Arctic Sunrise

@gp_sunrise

Saddest recap we have ever written: 13 of our activists and 1 freelance videographer have been charged with piracy #FreeTheArctic30

/ Via

UPDATE: Activist Philip Ball (UK) officially charged with piracy #FreeTheArctic30

Arctic Sunrise

@gp_sunrise

UPDATE: Activist Philip Ball (UK) officially charged with piracy #FreeTheArctic30

/ Via

UPDATE: Activist Camila Speziale (ARG/ITA) officially charged with piracy #FreeTheArctic30 #LiberenaCamila

Arctic Sunrise

@gp_sunrise

UPDATE: Activist Camila Speziale (ARG/ITA) officially charged with piracy #FreeTheArctic30 #LiberenaCamila

/ Via

UPDATE: Activist Faiza Oulahsen (NL) officially charged with piracy #FreeTheArctic30

Arctic Sunrise

@gp_sunrise

UPDATE: Activist Faiza Oulahsen (NL) officially charged with piracy #FreeTheArctic30

/ Via

UPDATE: Crew member Mannes Ubels (NL) officially charged with piracy #FreeTheArctic30

Arctic Sunrise

@gp_sunrise

UPDATE: Crew member Mannes Ubels (NL) officially charged with piracy #FreeTheArctic30

/ Via

UPDATE: Activist Tomaz Dziemianczuk (PL) officially charged with piracy #FreeTheArctic30

Arctic Sunrise

@gp_sunrise

UPDATE: Activist Tomaz Dziemianczuk (PL) officially charged with piracy #FreeTheArctic30

/ Via

UPDATE: Russian crew member officially charged with piracy #FreeTheArctic30

Arctic Sunrise

@gp_sunrise

UPDATE: Russian crew member officially charged with piracy #FreeTheArctic30

/ Via

UPDATE: Activist Alexandra Harris (UK) officially charged with piracy #FreeTheArctic30

Arctic Sunrise

@gp_sunrise

UPDATE: Activist Alexandra Harris (UK) officially charged with piracy #FreeTheArctic30

/ Via

UPDATE: Ukranian crew member officially charged with piracy #FreeTheArctic30

Arctic Sunrise

@gp_sunrise

UPDATE: Ukranian crew member officially charged with piracy #FreeTheArctic30

/ Via

UPDATE: Activist Philip Ball (UK) officially charged with piracy #FreeTheArctic30

Arctic Sunrise

@gp_sunrise

UPDATE: Activist Philip Ball (UK) officially charged with piracy #FreeTheArctic30

/ Via

Despite the arrests, Greenpeace activists continued the peaceful protests today.

Peaceful protests against Arctic drilling continue! Today, German Gazprom stations. #FreetheArctic30 @greenpeace_de

Arctic Sunrise

@gp_sunrise

Peaceful protests against Arctic drilling continue! Today, German Gazprom stations. #FreetheArctic30 @greenpeace_de

/ Via

Contact Ali Vingiano at alison.vingiano@buzzfeed.com.

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