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Parliamentary questions
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10 October 2013
Question for written answer E-011587-13
to the Commission
Rule 117
Marc Tarabella (S&D) , Jean Louis Cottigny (S&D)

 Subject:  Repatriation of Greenpeace activists
 Answer in writing 

At the end of September, Russian coast guards boarded the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise in the Barents Sea in the Russian Arctic, a huge area rich in hydrocarbon resources which the country has made a strategic priority. The activists are to be detained for two months in Murmansk around 2 000 kilometres north of Moscow. Last week, all 30 members of the crew, 26 of which are not Russian were charged with ‘piracy as part of an organised group’. With this charge, they risk up to 15 years of detention.

Constant surveillance, unhealthy conditions … the 30 Greenpeace activists arrested for trying to approach a Russian oil platform are being held in ‘inhumane’ conditions according to a lawyer of the organisation, Sergei Golubok.

He pointed out that several activists held ‘do not have access to drinking water’ and all are subject to ‘constant video surveillance’, even in the toilet

‘Nobody is receiving the appropriate medical care’, he added. The situation of the detainees is even more complicated as most of them are foreign nationals and do not speak Russian, the lawyer highlighted before stating that: ‘They cannot speak to their families on the phone as they have to speak a language which the prison employees can understand’.

The activists are unable to fill in forms in Russian to take money out of their bank accounts or simply ask the guards’ permission to open a window.

1. What is the Commission’s reaction?

2. What does it intend to do to ensure humane detention conditions?

3. Given the conditions of their imprisonment and the discrepancies between the facts and the penalties incurred, should the Greenpeace activists not be repatriated?

4. How is the Commission defending this case to the Russian authorities?

Original language of question: FROJ C 216, 09/07/2014
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