Harsh Winds, Tears and No Sympathy
Briton Alexandra Harris and 29 others face 15 years in jail for Arctic Sunrise protest, but Russians have their own problems
Greenpeace activists await trial among harsh winds, tears and no sympathy
Locals call Radishchev Street the “street of tears”. On one side is Murmansk’s biggest funeral parlour; on the other is pretrial detention centre No 1, a foreboding facility fronted by rusting metal gates and crumbling walls.
It is here that the 28 activists and two freelance journalists detainedaboard Greenpeace’s ship the Arctic Sunrise are being held pending trial.
Friday marked 30 days since Russian coastguards descended from helicopters to take the Arctic Sunrise by storm during Greenpeace’s protest against the Prirazlomnaya oil rig.
The environmentalists were brought to the Arctic port city of Murmansk and have been charged with “piracy as part of an organised group” – an offence which carries a jail sentence of 10-15 years.
Throughout the week, activists have been brought one by one from the detention centre to courtrooms in central Murmansk, asking to be released on bail ahead of the pending trials.
On Friday morning, it was the turn of Devon-born Alexandra Harris at the Oktyabrsky district court, which still proudly displays a huge……[access full article]