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Russia faces law suit for Greenpeace arrests

Netherlands takes legal action against arrest of activists on piracy charges after protest against Arctic oil drilling.

Last Modified: 04 Oct 2013 19:04
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Greenpeace activists climbed the Prirazlomnaya oil platform in the Arctic to protest against drilling [EPA]

The Netherlands has taken legal action against Russia, claiming it had unlawfully detained Greenpeace activists on a Dutch-registered ship for protesting against oil drilling in the Arctic.

Russian government will have to answer for its actions in front of the Hamburg-based International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea after it pressed piracy charges against 30 activists, including two Dutch citizens.

"Russian officials will now be called to explain their actions before an international court of law, where (they) will be unable to justify these absurd piracy allegations," Greenpeace lawyer Jasper Teulings said on Friday.

Greenpeace members on board the Arctic Sunrise, a Greenpeace ship, were seized by Russian authorities last month after activists staged the protest at the Prirazlomnaya offshore oil platform.

The Russian government declined immediate comment.

'Unlawful manner'

The Dutch government contested the "unlawful manner" in which the ship was intercepted, Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans said, and would seek the release of all its passengers, who include 28 activists and two freelance journalists.

The Dutch government could "ask the Tribunal on the Law of the Sea for temporary measures for the release of the ship and its passengers," if the arbitration does not result in their release, he said.

The Hamburg-based International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea was set up in 1996 to settle maritime legal disputes between states.

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