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Russia drops case against Greenpeace activist

Anthony Perrett prepares to return to Britain, as he becomes the first of 30 protesters to have charges dropped.

Last updated: 25 Dec 2013 04:44
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Anthony Perrett left prison in St Petersburg in November after he was released on bail [EPA]

A British Greenpeace protester has said he feels relieved that Russia has closed the criminal case against him for staging a protest on an oil rig.

But Anthony Perrett, one of the 30 crew members of a Greenpeace ship who were charged with hooliganism over a protest against Gazprom oil drilling in the Arctic, vowed on Tuesday to keep fighting for environmental issues.

The move should pave the way for the other 29 crew members to have their cases closed and then allow the 26 foreign nationals charged in the saga to finally leave Russia.

"It's nice to have a stamp in my passport to say that I will be leaving Russia," said Perrett, from Newport, south Wales.

"But I'd have preferred it to have been a result of a not guilty verdict of an independent judiciary, but what I got was a presidential pardon.

"But I feel like I'll be taking liberty wherever it comes from at this stage."

Amnesty

The move is part of a Kremlin-backed amnesty and is the latest publicity-grabbing headline to come just two months before the Sochi Games.

First, Russian oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky was released after a decade in prison, and then the last two Pussy Riot activists were pardoned and freed.

Greenpeace International spokesman Aaron Gray-Block said Perrett had been told he could collect paperwork for leaving Russia on Thursday.

The 30 crew members aboard a Greenpeace ship were detained at a Russian oil rig in September and were held for two months before they were released last month.

The 26 non-Russian crew members have not been allowed to leave Russia because of the pending case, but the amnesty law passed last week is expected to clear them of the charges.
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The crew members were originally accused of piracy, a charge that was later changed to hooliganism.

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Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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