Russia decided to replace piracy charges against the Greenpeace activists with hooliganism charges. Officially, Greenpeace did not agree with the allegations.
The group of activists are facing maximum stay in prison for 7 years still better than 15 years for piracy. The ship of the activists Arctic Sunrise was detained by Russian military forces while the activists were trying to board an offshore oil platform owned by Gazprom.
All of the people that were sailing together were detained but not all of them made an attempt to board the oil platform.
There were allegations also for illegal drugs found after a serious search of the ship Arctic Sunrise. It is known that 2 of the arrested people were freelance journalists. Even Vladimir Putin announced that the activists could not be name pirates but he does not have the power to take a decision.
Vladimir Markin, the head of Russia’s main investigating agency the Investigative Committee, informed Russian journalists that the charges had been changed. Piracy charges are dropped as expected.
The detained Greenpeace activists refused to give evidence about what happened and that made their situation worse. The official investigators could suspect them in terrorism and espionage.
Vladimir Chuprov of Greenpeace Russia said:
"The Arctic 30 are no more hooligans than they were pirates,"
"This is still a wildly disproportionate charge that carries up to seven years in jail. It represents nothing less than an assault on the very principle of peaceful protest."
Netherlands decided to go to the UN tribunal in Hamburg because Arctic Sunrise is Dutch-flagged. Russian foreign ministry informed that the country had opted out of UN Law of the Sea dispute procedures, which infringe upon sovereignty, in 1997.
All of the activists are in Murmansk and wait what will happen. They informed journalists about being held in bad conditions.