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Saarela and other Greenpeace detainees move to St Petersburg

The Finnish consul at Murmansk confirms being informed by a Greenpeace attorney that the environmental activists currently held in Murmansk are to be moved to a prison in St Petersburg.

Sini Saarela kalterikopissa
Sini Saarela pidätyssellissä Murmanskissa 29. syyskuuta 2013 Image: Dmitri Sharomov / EPA

The Finnish consul Martti Ruokokoski learnt of the transfer from the attorney of Finnish activist Sini Saarela.

The reasons behind the transfer, its schedule and other details remain as of yet unknown. Ruokokoski says he intends to investigate the matter further.

The consul criticises Russian authorities for not releasing official information regarding their decisions concerning the foreign prisoners. Decisions relating to the Greenpeace activists have tended to come without warning, and usually late in the evening, he adds.

Ruokokoski would not speculate on whether the prisoners would enjoy better conditions in St Petersburg noting, “A prison is a prison.”

After Saarela’s transfer, her case will move from the Finnish consul in Murmansk to the consul general at St Petersburg.

The environmental activists attempted to protest against oil exploration in the Arctic on a Gazprom oil rig in September. They have been held in a Murmansk prison for more than a month, and face charges of hooliganism.

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