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Dutch Authorities to Bail Arctic Sunrise Out

The Netherlands has prepared a bank guarantee of 3.6 million euros ($4.8 million) in compliance with a ruling by an international court ordering Russia to release the Arctic Sunrise ship and its 30-member crew, Greenpeace said on its Russian website Saturday.

The environmental group said the announcement was made by Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans on Friday.

"The Netherlands has now fulfilled its part of the Tribunal's binding order and Russia is obligated to also comply by releasing the ship and the Arctic 30, as the Tribunal so ordered," the statement quoted Jasper Teulings, general counsel at Greenpeace International, as saying.

"Greenpeace will compensate the Dutch government if the arbitral tribunal orders the Netherlands at a later date to pay reparations to Russia," Teulings said.

The Dutch-registered Greenpeace icebreaker, the Arctic Sunrise, was seized by Russian border guards in September. All 30 people on board the vessel, collectively known as the Arctic 30, were detained by Russian authorities after the activists attempted to scale a rig belonging to Russian state-owned gas giant Gazprom in protest against drilling in the Arctic.

The Arctic 30 were initially charged with piracy, but those charges were later changed to hooliganism, punishable with up to seven years in prison.

The activists have been released on bail of 2 million rubles ($61,500) per person after about two months in pretrial detention, following a massive international campaign in their support. They are not allowed to leave Russia before the trial.

The Dutch government has taken the Arctic Sunrise case to the International Tribunal on the Law for the Sea, demanding Russia release both the ship and its multinational crew, who have all been charged with hooliganism.

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