LISA RIND/Bullet News
MURMANSK – Canadians Paul Ruzycki of Port Colborne and Alexandre Paul of Montreal have been formally charged with piracy by Russian authorities, Thursday.
Yesterday, Russian authorities began laying charges of piracy against the 30-member crew of the Greenpeace vessel Arctic Sunrise, now referred to as the “Arctic 30.” All 30 now face piracy charges and are expected to be detained until at least Nov. 24, according to Greenpeace.
The crew – including Ruzycki, the first mate and Paul, the bosun – were two weeks ago taken into custody by Russian authorities in the Port of Murmansk. Since then, they had been awaiting formal charges for their part in a Greenpeace protest against oil drilling at a platform in the Arctic, owned by the Russian state-controlled energy company Gazprom.
Lawyers acting on behalf of Greenpeace International have now lodged formal appeals in the Murmansk Lenin district court against the continued detention of the Arctic 30.
“Our activists have been charged with a crime that did not happen, they are accused of an imaginary offence,” said Greenpeace International executive director Kumi Naidoo.
He called the charges an “intimidation tactic,” but assured media Greenpeace’s peaceful protests would continue, encouraging citizens to join “in this fight against bullies of the very worst kind.”
As the last of the piracy charges was issued, Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs issued this statement:
“We are aware of the situation involving two Canadian citizens in Murmansk, Russia. Consular services are being provided to the two Canadian citizens as required. Due to the Privacy Act, we are not able to share any more information on this matter,” said spokesman John Babcock.
On its website www.greenpeace.org, Greenpeace posted the call to join in an emergency global day of solidarity on Saturday:
“On Saturday, Oct. 5, tens of thousands of people will take part in an emergency global day of solidarity. Peaceful events are planned in more than 80 cities in 45 countries across the world. In Hong Kong, hundreds will gather at the main harbour to form a human banner. In South Africa, people will come together at former Apartheid detention centres. In Canada, large audio and visual displays will light up at an all-night event. In Madrid, supporters will gather in Puerto del Sol with a replica of the Arctic Sunrise ship. And in Senegal, fishermen who last year welcomed the Arctic Sunrise on its voyage to preserve their fishing grounds will take to their boats again in an act of solidarity.”
A conviction of piracy carries a maximum 15-year sentence.
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