Greenpeace ship captain denied bail in Russia hearing

  • Published
Media caption,
Watch footage of the activists trying to haul themselves on to the Gazprom oil platform

A Russian court has rejected bail requests from the American captain of a Greenpeace ship and two other foreign activists involved in a protest against oil drilling in the Arctic.

Skipper Pete Wilcox, 60, and campaigners David John Haussmann, 49, and Camila Speziale, 21, had appealed against a pre-trial detention order.

They are among 30 people being held in the city of Murmansk on piracy charges.

A bail hearing is due to take place on Tuesday for Briton Frank Hewetson.

Mr Hewetson, 45, who was a logistics co-ordinator on the ship, will appear alongside Swiss activist Marco Weber and Cristian D'Alessandro of Italy, according to a Greenpeace statement on Twitter.

Image caption,
Captain Peter Willcox is a long-serving and prominent Greenpeace campaigner

The Arctic Sunrise was seized nearly four weeks ago by Russian security forces after some activists tried to scale an offshore oil platform.

So far all bail applications in the case have been refused.

International concern

Mr Willcox, a veteran campaigner who was at the helm of the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior when it was bombed and sunk by the French secret service in 1985, denied the charges against him in court.

Image caption,
Camila Speziale said she wanted to return to Argentina to continue her studies

"I've been working on ships doing environmental work for 40 years. Never before have I been accused of using violence or doing something for my own personal gain. And I reject these accusations in the strongest way possible," he said.

Russian news agencies quoted him as saying that he had many regrets and that if he could start again, he would have stayed in New York.

"He is a hero not a pirate," his wife Maggie said in a statement.

Meanwhile Greenpeace quoted Camila Speziale, who has Italian and Argentine citizenship, saying: "I'm innocent and I do not understand what I'm accused of."

There is widespread international concern for the crew of the Arctic Sunrise, who hail from 18 nations and include six Britons.

All those arrested have been accused of piracy, which carries a maximum sentence of 15 years.

The group have been placed in pre-trial detention until late November.

The Netherlands has demanded the immediate release of the detainees as well as the release of the Dutch-flagged ship.

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