[QODLink]
Europe

Russia grants Greenpeace activists exit visas

Dima Litvinov was the first of the 'Arctic 30' to leave Russia, with the rest expected to follow in the coming days.

Last updated: 27 Dec 2013 03:00
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
The boarding of the 'Arctic Sunrise' and arrest of the activists resulted in international criticism [AP]

Russian authorities have issued exit visas to 14 of the 30 Greenpeace members, arrested and detained more than two months ago, a move that will allow them to leave the country.

It comes after charges were dropped against them over a protest outside an Arctic oil rig.

The first of the activists left Russia on Thursday after the visas were issued and the rest are expected to get clearance to leave by Friday.

Soviet-born Swedish activist Dima Litvinov crossed the Finnish border after receiving an exit stamp in his passport.

"Now I'm going home to my bed, my wife, my kids and my life," Dima said in a statement.

"I'm leaving Russia feeling like we won something here."

Russia's treatment of the 30 activists from 18 countries - who spent two months in detention and faced hooliganism charges punishable by seven years in jail - had drawn heavy criticism from Western nations and celebrities.

The "Arctic 30" were arrested in September following a protest outside a Russian oil rig in the Arctic and spent two months in jail before they were granted bail in November.

Hooliganism charges against the crew were later dropped after Russia's parliament passed an amnesty law that was seen as an attempt by the Kremlin's to assuage the criticism of Russia's human rights record before the Winter Olympics in Sochi in February.

226

Source:
Agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Featured on Al Jazeera
Muslim volunteers face questioning and threat of arrest, while aid has been disrupted or blocked, charities say.
Six months on, outrage and sorrow over the mass schoolgirl abduction has disappeared - except for families in Nigeria.
ISIL combatants seeking an 'exit strategy' from Mideast conflict need positive reinforcement back home, analysts say.
European nation hit by a wave of Islamophobia as many young fighters join ISIL in Syria and Iraq.
Featured
Lacking cohesive local ground forces to attack in tandem, coalition air strikes will have limited effect, experts say.
Hindu right-wing groups run campaign against what they say is Muslim conspiracy to convert Hindu girls into Islam.
Six months on, outrage and sorrow over the mass schoolgirl abduction has disappeared - except for families in Nigeria.
Muslim caretakers maintain three synagogues in eastern Indian city, which was once home to a thriving Jewish community.
Amid fresh ISIL gains, officials in Anbar province have urged the Iraqi government to request foreign ground troops.