Greenpeace defendants back in Russian courts for hearings

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia – Several of the 30 people arrested following a Greenpeace protest in the Arctic have been brought to St. Petersburg courts for hearings on whether they will remain in Russian jails pending trial.

The Russian Coast Guard seized a Greenpeace ship Sept. 18 and arrested everyone on board after the environmental activists tried to scale an offshore drilling platform owned by Russian state energy giant Gazprom.

Among those arrested were Paul Ruzycki of Port Colborne, Ont., and Alexandre Paul of Montreal.

Investigators have until Sunday to ask courts to extend the detention period for three months. The first hearings are being held on Monday.

Defence lawyers are asking for the detainees to be freed on bail or put under house arrest in a St. Petersburg hotel.

The 30 are charged with hooliganism, which carries a maximum sentence of seven years.

Looking for more?

Get the Best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.