October 14, 2013

Russian court refuses bail to Maine-linked captain

Peter Willcox of Islesboro will remain behind bars while he and other Greenpeace crew members face charges of piracy.

Deutsche Presse-Agentur

MOSCOW — A court in Murmansk on Monday refused bail to the captain of a Greenpeace ship whose 30-member crew has been detained in the north Russian city after it sailed to an oil platform to protest drilling.

click image to enlarge

In this photo released by Greenpeace International, activist and Arctic Sunrise Captain Peter Willcox, from the US, arrives for his bail hearing, at a court in Murmansk, Russia, Monday, Oct. 14, 2013. Peter Willcox is once of the 'Arctic 30' who are now in custody charged with piracy, punishable for up to 15 years in jail. The Murmansk regional court on Monday dismissed an appeal of an Argentine Greenpeace activist, Camila Speziale, who was detained onboard the Arctic Sunrise ship on September 18. The court supported the request of the prosecutors and investigators who said that any other measure of restraint could help the woman to influence the investigation and escape from justice. (AP Photo/Greenpeace International, Dmitri Sharomov)

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The court sided with prosecutors who argued that Peter Willcox, a U.S. citizen with Maine ties, should remain behind bars because he could hinder the course of justice or go into hiding, Russian news agencies reported.

The court also denied bail to Argentinian activist Camila Speziale and New Zealander David Haussmann, bringing the number of rejected appeals for bail in the case to nine, according to Greenpeace.

The hearing of a 10th activist, Cristian D’Alessandro of Italy, was postponed to Tuesday, the environmental group said.

Greenpeace has appealed the detentions of all 30 of the crew members. The appeal hearings were expected to last until at least next week.

The 28 activists and two journalists were arrested after their ship was seized by the coast guard Sept. 19, one day after the protest. They were charged with piracy, which carries a jail term of up to 15 years, and the court sanctioned their detentions for two months.

Willcox had earlier been fined $620 for refusing orders to sail his ship, the Arctic Sunrise, to Murmansk, the Interfax news agency reported. The vessel was subsequently towed.

A veteran activist, Willcox was the captain of the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior in 1985 when it was bombed by French agents, killing a photographer.

Greenpeace has called the accusations trumped up and demanded that Russian authorities release the crew and return their ship.

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