MOSCOW, October 18 (RIA Novosti) – A Russian court in Murmansk denied bail Friday to three more Greenpeace activists detained last month while mounting a protest against offshore oil drilling in the Arctic Sea.
Alexandra Harris, from the United Kingdom, Canadian Alexandre Paul and Anne Mie Roer Jensen from Denmark are the latest in a string of people to have been denied bail ahead of their trial on piracy charges.
Paul, 36, a long-term activist with Greenpeace, rejected the charges being leveled against him at the hearing.
“I am not a criminal, I’m proud of working for Greenpeace and have never been detained before. I have always cooperated with the judicial bodies,” Paul said.
Harris’ lawyer reacted indignantly to his client’s failed appeal.
“Does this young girl really look like a pirate to you?" the lawyer said.
Greenpeace says on its website that Harris, 27, was on her first campaign with the environmental group when she was detained along with her colleagues onboard the Arctic Sunrise icebreaker.
Jensen, 26, a student at Marstal Navigation School in southern Denmark, said at a preliminary court hearing this week that the Greenpeace demonstration was not violent.
“We did not use weapons, we are peaceful. We want to save the Arctic, and we are here to spread the word," she said. "We ensured that our equipment was safe. In contrast, the officers who detained us were using fire arms.”
The court in Murmansk denied Australian radio operator Colin Russell bail Thursday and ordered him to remain in custody until November 24.
He joined nationals of France, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States and four other countries previously denied bail.
Also Friday, a group of masked people attempted to disrupt a protest staged near the Murmansk court in support of the Arctic Sunrise crew, local media reports said.
The attackers reportedly stole a cage in which Greenpeace activists had planned to hold their protest.
A similar protest in support of Arctic Sunrise was held also in Moscow on Friday. The participants collected signatures asking the head of Russia's Investigative Committee, Alexander Bastrykin, to release the group detained on the Arctic Sunrise, who include Denis Sinyakov, a Moscow-based Russian photographer.
The group of 30 currently in detention, which includes two freelance journalists, could face up to 15 years in jail.
Greenpeace has collected almost 1.5 million signatures for a petition to free the Arctic Sunrise group, the organization’s program coordinator Yevgeniya Belyakova said Friday.
Updates with bail being denied to Anne Mie Roer Jensen, Changes headline, lead.