UK & World News
Greenpeace Piracy Charges: Activist Falls Ill
A British environmental activist has been taken to hospital in Murmansk after falling ill before he was taken to court to face piracy charges.
A group of 30 Greenpeace activists and journalists, including six Britons, have been charged with piracy after a protest in the Arctic.
The group was detained last month as their ship circled near the Prirazlomnaya oil platform in the Pechora Sea, where they were protesting at drilling in the region.
Im a statement, Greenpeace said: "One of our British activists was taken ill prior to hearing his charges today.
"As a precaution, he was taken to hospital for examination, but was not required to undergo treatment. Contrary to inaccurate reports, he did not have a heart problem.
"We remain in close contact with the activists and expect the Russian authorities to provide any appropriate care where needed."
The Britons onboard the vessel were named as British freelance video journalist Kieron Bryan and activists Philip Ball, Alexandra Harris, Anthony Perrett, Frank Hewetson and Iain Rogers.
Greenpeace said the family of the unnamed activist had been informed.
Armed Russian officers stormed the Arctic Sunrise after two of the activists tried to climb on to the platform and towed it back to Murmansk.
Those charged could be sentenced to 15 years in prison if convicted over the protest.
Greenpeace denies any wrongdoing and has described the charges as "completely outrageous".
"The decision to bring charges of piracy against two freelance journalists and 28 Greenpeace activists including five from the UK is completely outrageous," it said in a statement.
"There isn't a shred of evidence to justify holding these activists, let alone charging them with piracy.
"Greenpeace, and the thousands of people who support us, will not stand idly by while these peaceful protesters are locked up on these absurd charges.
"This Saturday a mass protest will be held outside the Russian embassy in London and the consulate in Edinburgh.
"The Russian authorities should be in no doubt that for as long as they imprison our activists and independent freelance journalists, Greenpeace will campaign to have each and every one released."
The 30 Greenpeace activists are being held in custody in Murmansk. They include activists and crew members from 18 nations as well as a British camera operator and a Russian photographer.
Russia's Investigative Committee, which answers to President Vladimir Putin, said all the accused had denied any guilt and refused to give substantive testimony. It said its investigation was continuing.
The Prirazlomnaya platform is Russia's first offshore Arctic oil rig, giving it an important role in the country's programme to extract resources in the region.
Its owner Gazprom says it is on track to begin oil production this year.