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Senator Appeals to Prosecutor General to Release Russian Greenpeace Photographer

The photographer Denis Sinyakov being held in custody pending investigation on charges of piracy, which has since been changed to hooliganism. Igor Podgorny

Federation Council member Vadim Tyulpanov has appealed to the Prosecutor General's Office to consider releasing the Russian photographer who was arrested during last month's Greenpeace protest in the Arctic, saying the journalist should not be imprisoned for doing his job.

"By means of their profession, journalists are required to be in the thick of events," Tyulpanov wrote in a letter to Prosecutor General Yury Chaika, news agency Itar-Tass reported.

"It is this kind of dedication that allows us to receive timely information from all parts of the world," he said.

Photographer Denis Sinyakov was detained along with 28 Greenpeace activists and a British videographer Sept. 19, when the protesters tried to place a banner on a Gazprom offshore oil platform to protest drilling in the Arctic. All 30 were charged with piracy, though the indictments were later reduced to hooliganism.

"I am asking you to take under your personal control the case against Denis Mikhailovich Sinyakov" and have the prosecutor general's staff "determine the legality of the arrest of the journalist who was doing his job duties as a correspondent for online newspaper," Tyulpanov said in the letter.

A nautical college graduate who made a career as a naval engineer before completing a second degree in law, Tyulpanov said he did not approve of the Arctic protest.

"As a seaman, I am convinced that the sea is no place for aggressive actions," Tyulpanov wrote.

"With the raid, Greenpeace activists put their own lives and the lives of the Prirazlomnaya platform crew and the coast guard in danger."

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