The UK’s two Green Party MEPs are calling on the head of EU foreign policy to do more to ensure that Greenpeace activists being held in a Russian jail are released.
Twenty eight Greenpeace activists and two journalists are currently being held in Murmansk, Russia after being arrested during a peaceful protest in the Arctic region.
The intervention from the Green Party’s MEPs comes after a debate in the European Parliament in which politicians from across the political spectrum expressed their anger at Russia for the continued detention of the activists.
Keith Taylor, MEP for the South East of England, is calling for the EU’s Foreign Policy High Representative, Catherine Ashton, to intervene in the matter:
“One of my constituents, Phil Ball, is among those being held by the Russian authorities. For his sake, and the sake of the 29 others being unfairly detained, it is essential that Catherine Ashton puts pressure on the Russian Government by calling for the activists to be treated fairly.
The Greenpeace activists are campaigning against the potentially catastrophic plans to drill for oil in the Arctic. They should be praised for their efforts in protecting our environment, but instead they are being locked up on trumped up charges.”
Jean Lambert, London’s Green Party MEP, said:
“The treatment of the activists seeks to undermine the efforts of civil society organisations to play their vital role in drawing attention to activities which damage the environment and are therefore seen as challenging the government. Peaceful dissent should not be seen as a crime”
“The EU should defend its citizens and the rights of all to peaceful protest. I trust Baroness Ashton will do all she can to ensure the fair treatment of those held and their swift return to friends and loved ones.”