1. UPDATE - Dec. 25, 9 p.m. ET:
3. “The final chapter in the legal ordeal of the Arctic 30 began today,” Greenpeace said in a written statement.
4. On Monday Russia announced it would drop its criminal charges against activist Anthony Perrett from Wales.
BBC Breaking News
Anthony Perrett from Newport, Wales is the first Greenpeace activist to have his case dropped in Russia, BBC learns http://t.co/NKJ25v06Z3
6. All of the activists, plus two of the journalists involved, had been previously freed on bail.
They’ve been granted amnesty under the same Russian law that saw the members of Pussy Riot freed earlier this week. Many people say Russia hopes this will improve the country’s human rights reputation ahead of the Sochi Olympics, beginning in two months.
7. Twenty-six people of the 30 are not Russian, and Greenpeace said they would be free to leave Russia once they had visas, adding:
“We know that getting those stamps would be the best Christmas present for the Arctic 30 and we hope it can happen quickly, but until such time as they do, we still cannot say when they will leave.”
Greenpeace International activist Anthony Perrett ® from Britain poses with his lawyer Sergey Golubok.
Greenpeace International activists Marco Paolo Weber (L) from Switzerland and videographer Kieron Bryan from Britain congratulate each other, after having the criminal charges against them dropped.
Activist Miguel Hernan Perez Orsi from Argentina holds up papers certifying the termination of his criminal prosecution.
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