Skip to main content

Russian authorities release most of Greenpeace protest group

By CNN Staff
updated 6:52 AM EST, Fri November 22, 2013
Photographer Denis Sinyakov, one of the 'Arctic 30,' hugs his wife Alina as he is released on bail on November 21 in Russia.
Photographer Denis Sinyakov, one of the 'Arctic 30,' hugs his wife Alina as he is released on bail on November 21 in Russia.
  • Russian authorities arrested the group called Arctic 30 in September
  • Group members were protesting oil drilling in the Arctic on the ship Arctic Sunrise
  • The 30 were charged with piracy, but the charge was later dropped
  • Authorities let four go Friday, bringing the total of those released to 18

(CNN) -- Russian authorities have released from jail most of the members of a Greenpeace group arrested on their ship in September while protesting oil drilling in the Arctic.

Four were let go Friday, bringing to 18 the total number freed so far from the original 30 who were detained, the environmental group said Friday.

The so-called Arctic 30, made of 28 Greenpeace activists and two freelance journalists, were detained after two activists left their ship, the Arctic Sunrise, and attempted to scale an oil platform owned by Russian energy company Gazprom.

Workers on the Prirazlomnaya oil rig in the Barents Sea thwarted the attempt by fighting the activists with fire hoses.

Greenpeace activist released

Russian authorities boarded the Arctic Sunrise, drawing guns and smashing communications equipment, Greenpeace has said.

After the ship's captain refused to sail into a Russian port, authorities confiscated the vessel and towed it to the nearby city of Murmansk, where the Greenpeace group members were incarcerated.

They were transported by prison train to detention centers in St. Petersburg and charged with piracy.

The court later dropped the charge, but the 30 still face the charge of hooliganism, which carries a sentence of up to seven years in prison, according to Russian news agency RIA Novosti. The original charge of piracy carried a sentence of up to 15 years.

Greenpeace says the hooliganism charge is still "wildly disproportionate."

Russian authorities accuse the activists of trying to take over the oil platform and of endangering the lives of the company's employees. They say the activists' actions could have led to an environmental disaster.

Part of complete coverage on
updated 8:23 PM EDT, Tue August 26, 2014
Wilson Raj Perumal tells CNN how he rigged World Cup games: "I was giving orders to the coach."
updated 4:14 PM EDT, Wed August 27, 2014
A 9-year-old girl learning to fire a submachine gun accidentally killed her instructor at a shooting range, according to Arizona authorities.
updated 8:55 AM EDT, Tue August 26, 2014
ISIS has made surprise gains in Iraq and Syria in recent months, but may begin to suffer setbacks on the battlefield.
updated 2:44 PM EDT, Tue August 26, 2014
The fear of Russian invasion is receding but peace may still be tricky to find.
updated 8:28 AM EDT, Wed August 27, 2014
Was a police officer justified in shooting and killing Michael Brown?
updated 4:15 AM EDT, Wed August 27, 2014
Don't like the country you live in? Meet the people who created their own "micronations."
updated 12:44 PM EDT, Wed August 27, 2014
The signs exist that indicate U.S. airstrikes into Syria are on the way.
updated 12:49 PM EDT, Wed August 27, 2014
The mother of a hostage freed after two years captivity says it's not time to party.
updated 5:46 AM EDT, Tue August 26, 2014
We asked you what you would like to know about Ebola. Experts answer some of your most common questions and concerns.
CNN joins the fight to end modern-day slavery by shining a spotlight on its horrors and highlighting success stories.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
updated 2:00 AM EDT, Tue August 26, 2014
"I just love it when I get milk-to-dark converts," says Kerrin Rousset, before she leads a small cocoa-hungry crowd through Zurich's Old Town.