Arctic 30 to be set free
The Russian parliament formally adopted an agreement to cease legal proceedings against the Arctic 30, Greenpeace announced Wednesday. Under the new amnesty law, the 28 activists and 2 journalists imprisoned after protesting the country's drilling activity in the Arctic, including 26 non-citizens, could be home in time for Christmas. The group is currently on bail for trial on charges of hooliganism.
Greenpeace says it is unclear when the non-Russians amongst the Arctic 30 will be able to leave the country. "At present they do not have the correct stamps in their passports, having been brought to Russia by commandos after being illegally seized in international waters. By accepting the amnesty they will not be admitting guilt, but the legal proceedings against them will come to an end."
The Duma, Russia's parliament, voted 446-0 in favour of the bill in its third and final reading on Wednesday. The amnesty mainly concerns first-time offenders, minors and women with small children. Once it is signed by Putin and printed in the state newspaper, Rossiiskaya Gazeta, it will then become law.
Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina, the two incarcerated members of Pussy Riot, will also be released.
In a statement, the activists said they were happy to be going home after two months in jail, but added: “There is no amnesty for the Arctic.”