Netherlands sues Russia in Greenpeace case

Reply Mon 21 Oct, 2013 07:45 pm

The Netherlands on Monday asked a world maritime tribunal to order Russia to free the crew of the Greenpeace activist ship Arctic Sunrise, who have been held on piracy charges since being seized by the Russian coast guard on September 17.

The Netherlands has asked an international maritime tribunal to order Russia to free the crew of a Greenpeace activist ship who are being held by authorities on charges of piracy.

The request was made on Monday to the German-based International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea in Hamburg, the Dutch government said.

"The (Dutch) state is asking for the freeing of the detained crew and the release of the Greenpeace ship," it said in a statement.

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Reply Mon 25 Nov, 2013 11:53 pm
When armed Russian coast guards descended on to the Arctic Sunrise from helicopters and screamed at everyone to get on the ground, Captain Peter Willcox took it as just another day at work.

The 60-year-old American has a long history of entanglements with law enforcement across the world, and has been arrested at various times in Turkey, the Philippines, Peru and Denmark. He was also the captain of the Greenpeace ship the Rainbow Warrior, which was bombed by French special forces in 1985, not long after the start of his 32-year affiliation with the environmental organisation.

"It didn't seem to be that unusual," said Willcox, during an interview at the hotel in Saint Petersburg where the Greenpeace Arctic 30 are staying since their release on bail in recent days, an empty bottle of Merlot on the table and a selection of English-language magazines strewn across the bed.

"When guys come on board with machine guns, they're going to take control and you're going to sit down. That's understood. The shock was when we got back to Murmansk and they said the word piracy."

Despite being arrested across the world, Willcox had never spent more than a night in a cell until the ill-fated Arctic voyage. "In Turkey, we had a trial and at one point my lawyer looked at me and said you're going to get three months, but 15 minutes later we were walking free," he recalled.

"I did spend a night in a Danish prison but it was nicer than many of the hotels I stayed in that summer."

Spending two months in Russian prisons, first in the Arctic port of Murmansk and then in Saint Petersburg, was a very different experience.

"The first five weeks when we were being hit with the piracy charge I lost a lot of sleep," he recalled. "I was nervous, I was scared. I just couldn't believe that they were going to put us to jail for years and years. You keep telling yourself you know they're not going to do it, but then a month later you're still sitting there. If I'm in jail for five years, I never see my father again, maybe my mother too. That's a game changer.


Russia wins, these guys will think long and hard before trying that against the Russians again.
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