UK & World News

  • 25 December 2013, 6:37

Greenpeace Activist Granted Amnesty In Russia

Greenpeace has confirmed that Briton Anthony Perrett has become the first member of the Arctic 30 protest group to be granted amnesty in Russia.

Mr Perrett, from Newport, was one of 28 activists and two freelance journalists arrested when Russian authorities boarded their ship during an anti-drilling protest in September.

The activist, one of six Britons from the Arctic 30 group, says he is looking forward to returning home now that charges against him have been dropped.

"It's time to go home, it's time to get back to Wales, and I just got one big step closer," Mr Perrett said in a statement released by Greenpeace.

Mr Perrett also defended his decision to join activists aboard the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise. They were arrested during their protest at Gazprom's drilling platform in the Pechora Sea.

"I took peaceful action to defend a fragile region under profound threat and instead I was seized by armed commandos at sea and spent two months in detention," he said.

"The Arctic is melting before our eyes and yet the oil companies are lining up to profit from its destruction.

"This is why I took action, to expose them and mobilise people to demand Arctic protection. I am proud of what I did."

A Greenpeace spokesman said the migration service had told Mr Perrett he would be contacted on Boxing Day to collect his visa, meaning he would not be home for Christmas.

The spokesman said it is not known when the rest of the Arctic 30 group will be allowed to leave Russia.

Last week the Russian parliament approved an amnesty decree freeing defendants who have been charged with hooliganism.

The Arctic 30 group had previously been accused of piracy, but the charge was later downgraded.

Among others released under the amnesty are Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, two members of the Russian punk band Pussy Riot.

Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the former oil tycoon who was widely seen by Kremlin critics and Western politicians as a political prisoner, has also been freed.

The amnesty has been largely viewed as the Kremlin's attempt to soothe criticism of Russia's human rights records ahead of the Winter Olympics in Sochi in February.

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