Support The Moscow Times!

Bail Denied for Greenpeace U.S. Captain and Foreign Activist

A Murmansk court Monday denied bail to the American captain of a Greenpeace ship and another activist who are among 30 environmentalists arrested on charges of piracy over a protest at an Arctic drilling platform.

Captain Peter Willcox and Greenpeace activist Camila Speziale, 21, who has Italian and Argentinian citizenship, had appealed against an order that they be held in pretrial detention through late November.

Decisions on Arctic Sunrise crew members Cristian D'Alessandro of Italy and David John Haussmann of New Zealand were expected later Monday.

A court in the northern port city of Murmansk has already denied bail to two Britons and four Russians held for the Sept. 18 protest in which activists tried to scale the Prirazlomnaya oil rig, and security forces later boarded the Greenpeace ship.

The piracy charges, punishable by up to 15 years in jail, appear aimed at sending a message that Moscow will not tolerate attempts to disrupt its development of the resource-rich Arctic.

Other countries and firms seeking to exploit Arctic energy resources face similar concerns from environmentalists, who fear they will destroy a pristine ecosystem.

Willcox, 60, 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.

"I have been doing this for 40 years and never faced a charge like this," the state-run Russian news agency RIA Novosti quoted him as saying. "If I could start everything over, I would stay in New York."

Read more

Independent journalism isn’t dead. You can help keep it alive.

As the only remaining independent, English-language news source reporting from Russia, The Moscow Times plays a critical role in connecting Russia to the world.

Editorial decisions are made entirely by journalists in our newsroom, who adhere to the highest ethical standards. We fearlessly cover issues that are often considered off-limits or taboo in Russia, from domestic violence and LGBT issues to the climate crisis and a secretive nuclear blast that exposed unknowing doctors to radiation.

As we approach the holiday season, please consider making a one-time donation — or better still a recurring donation — to The Moscow Times to help us continue producing vital, high-quality journalism about the world’s largest country.