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article imageTwo Greenpeace Arctic 30 members released on bail

By Eileen Kersey     Nov 18, 2013 in Environment
Saint Petersburg - Four days ago former Beatle Paul McCartney urged President Putin to free the so-called Arctic 30, and Monday two members of Greenpeace, part of the imprisoned group of 30 people have been released on bail by a Russian court.
The court granted bail to a doctor and a freelance photographer, both Greenpeace crew members. They have been detained since September 24 following a Greenpeace protest at an oil rig in the Barents Sea.
Many people have been working to get the Arctic 30 freed:
Paul McCartney posted an open letter to the Russian President on his website, expressing his wish that this “misunderstanding” be resolved “in time for Christmas.”
The ship’s doctor, Yekaterina Zaspa, and freelance photographer Denis Sinyakov — both Russian citizens — can be released as soon as two million rubles (US$61,300) bail is paid for each of them, reports Russia Today.
The prosecution was pushing to extend Denis Sinyakov's arrest for another three months but the court rejected that appeal.
The judge justified his decision as Sinyakov did not take part in the actual protest but was there to record events by taking photographs.
The Arctic 30 were initially deemed pirates but this was downgraded to charges of hooliganism. However hooligans in Russia can still face a seven-year term in jail if found guilty. As the 30 Greenpeace members have discovered, life in a Russian prison cell bears no relation to that in a western jail.
Greenpeace has been keeping pace and doing all it can to secure freedom for the Arctic 30.
Dr Yekaterina Zaspa told the court that she should already be back at work. Not only is she experiencing hardship, as she is not receiving any pay, but the hospital where she works is suffering too. Zaspa is the "only doctor at her hospital in the city of Puschino (120 km from Moscow), who is fully conversant with all the techniques of functional diagnostics," according to Russia Today.
Bail conditions are strict though and must be adhered to.
1 - The bail must be wire transferred within two working days.
2 - If it is not Yekaterina Zaspa and Denis Sinyakov may have to stay in prison until at least December 8.
3 - If they fail to appear in court the bail money will be reversed in favor of the state.
4 - If neither person violates bail conditions the money will be returned to Greenpeace.
In a separate St Petersburg court the trial of the other 28 people arrested began. First up was Australian activist, Colin Russell. He was not so lucky as to receive bail.
Prosecutors want the detention of the 28 Greenpeace activists extended.
Proceedings continue.
More about Arctic30, Russia, St petersburg, hooliganism, Hooligans
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