independent

Thursday 24 April 2014

Seven Greenpeace ship crew granted visas to allow them to depart Russia

Greenpeace International activist Anthony Perrett (R) from Britain poses with his lawyer Sergey Golubok, who holds papers certifying the termination of prosecution. He became the first of the 30 Greenpeace Arctic activists to have the criminal case against him dropped, in Saint Petersburg on December 24. Credit: REUTERS/Dmitri Sharomov/Greenpeace/Handout via Reuters

Russian authorities have issued visas to seven of 30 members of a Greenpeace ship crew that allow them to leave the country after dropping criminal charges against them over a protest outside an Arctic oil rig.

Greenpeace said other foreign members of the crew are expected to get their exit visas soon.

The 30 people were arrested in September following a protest outside a Russian oil rig in the Arctic and spent two months in jail before they were granted bail in November.

Hooliganism charges against the crew were later dropped after Russia's parliament passed an amnesty law that was seen as an attempt by the Kremlin to assuage the criticism of Russia's human rights record before the Winter Olympics in Sochi in February.

Greenpeace said Anthony Perrett was the first to get the visa in his passport.

"This was the final step," Mr Perrett said in a statement released by the group. "I'll be leaving for home in Wales as soon as possible now, extremely proud of what I did three months ago. We took peaceful action to defend a part of the world that is the heartbeat of our climate."

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