Amsterdam.- Greenpeace International today said it has already posted bail for nine of the Arctic 30, but does not expect them to be released before the weekend. Lawyers say they are making bail payments - set at 2 million rubles (45,000 euros) for each detainee - as quickly as they can.
At court hearings this morning Faiza Oulahsen from the Netherlands and British citizen Alexandra Harris became the 13th and 14th Arctic 30 prisoners to be granted bail. After getting bail Faiza was asked by a friend what she will do when she is released from prison. She replied: “I’m going to have a good meal, and I’m going to call my family because I haven’t spoken to them in more than two months. I’m going to enjoy the fact that I can walk more than just three yards in the cell, and some fresh air.” On the palm of her hand was written the words ‘SAVE THE ARCTIC’.
At her bail hearing, Alexandra Harris told the court: “Every day in prison for me is connected with the struggle.” She also said: “I joined Greenpeace because I care about the environment and think the Earth should be saved for future generations.”
Lawyers for Greenpeace today said there are a number of bureaucratic issues to resolve before any of the Arctic 30 are released from jail and they do not expect any of them to be out of prison until the weekend, possibly later. It is still not clear whether their movements will then be restricted. None of them have passports after they were confiscated following the seizing of their ship Arctic Sunrise by Russian security forces. Greenpeace cautioned that the detainees will not be free until they are home with their families. They are still charged with at least one very serious offence and if convicted could face years in prison.
Faiza’s mother, Mimount Oulahsen, said today: "This news is a huge relief, even though it doesn't mean this is all over now. But Faiza has a strong personality, and she doesn't give up easily. We cannot wait to hear her voice, and to see her again."
The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) will announce its ruling on Friday in a case brought by the Netherlands seeking the immediate release and repatriation of the detainees, and the end of all legal proceedings against them. Twenty-one judges will give their verdict at 15:00 in Hamburg.
The Australian ambassador to Russia today announced that he is visiting the Foreign Ministry in Moscow in an effort to find out why Greenpeace International activist Colin Russell was this week refused bail and ordered to return to jail for three months.
Colin, from Tasmania, was refused bail on Monday and returned to SIZO 4 detention centre in St Petersburg. Colin’s wife Christine told Australian public broadcaster ABC that civil servants have told her Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop has made no representations about his case since early October . When Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott was asked in Parliament what help his government is doing to free Colin, he replied: “We offer consular assistance to all Australian citizens overseas. But it never helps to make public comment if people are in trouble.”
Greenpeace International Executive Director Kumi Naidoo said today: “We have 18 nationalities in jail and almost all of their governments are working hard to get them out. The only peaceful protester to be denied bail so far is an Australian, his government hasn’t done enough and they need to stand with him right now.”
Today’s hearings in Primorskiy court, with local times: 14:00 Anne MR Jensen (Den); 14:00 Mannes Ubels (NL); 12:00 Kieron Bryan (UK). In Kalininsky court: 11:00 Peter Willcox (USA) ; 13:00 Anthony Perrett (UK); 15:00 Marco Weber (SWISS).