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Last Member of 'Arctic 30' Released on Bail

A St. Petersburg court on Thursday granted bail to Australian national Colin Russell, making him the last of the 30 Arctic Sunrise crew members to be released following their arrest over a protest at a Gazprom-owned oil rig in September.

Russell, the ship's radio operator, was released on a 2 million ruble ($60,000) bail, just days after his detention had been extended to Feb. 24, Interfax reported. The other 29 activists had already been released and it was unclear why the authorities had taken a different line with him.

The deadline for paying Russell's bail was set for Dec.6, but Greenpeace intends to pay it tonight, allowing Russell walk free Friday.

The Greenpeace ship's crew were detained by Russian coast guards on Sept. 18, after several of them tried to scale Gazprom's Prirazlomnaya platform in the Pechora Sea to protest Arctic oil drilling.

The 30 activists were taken into custody and initially charged with piracy, but that charge was later commuted to hooliganism.

The activists face up to seven years in prison if convicted.

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