September 24, 2013

"Greenpeace spokeswoman Maria Favorskaya insisted that Russian authorities had acted illegally in seizing and towing the group's ship, which was traveling under the Netherlands flag."

LA Times "She added that authorities effectively turned the boat into an illegal prison." By Sergei L. Loiko

'"At first they accused our activists of terrorism, then of illegal scientific research activities and now they come up with the absurdist charge of them all -- piracy!" Favorskaya said in a telephone interview from Murmansk. "How can peaceful activists who simply tried to put up a poster up the side of an oil drilling platform be accused of such a serious felony?"

'She said Greenpeace lawyers and diplomats from other countries have not been allowed to board the Arctic Sunrise.

'"If any act of piracy took place in that area of the Arctic it was certainly committed by Russian border troops who illegally attacked our vessel and continue to hold our activists and the crew hostages, denying any access to them for a fifth day," Favorskaya said.

'Denis Sinyakov, a prominent Moscow-based photographer who was onboard the Arctic Sunrise, described last week's confrontation with authorities in dramatic detail on his Facebook page. The Greenpeace activists had approached the drilling platform in small boats that were launched from the Arctic Sunrise.

'"The men in coast guard boats seemed to have lost self control," he wrote in Russian.  "Screaming and pointing arms at the activists, they started to shoot first into the water. One soldier lost control, took out a knife and started to wave it in front of the main guy in our boat."

'He said that two activists, whom he identified as Marco Polo of Switzerland and Sini Saarela of Finland, started to climb ropes that had been attached to the drilling platform but fell into the icy water after authorities cut the ropes. “The border troops made several holes in Greenpeace boats with their knives and after intensive shooting made the boats turn away,” he wrote.

'Sinyakov made the entry on Wednesday. On Thursday, he was arrested along with the rest of the Arctic Sunrise crew.'

No comments: