NEWS

Greenpeace holds vigils for activists jailed in Russia

10/05/2013 01:42 EDT | Updated 12/05/2013 05:12 EST
A vigil organized by Greenpeace to protest the detention of 30 of its members in a Russian jail will be held tonight in downtown Montreal.

- Greenpeace piracy case sees Canadians Alexandre Paul, Paul Ruzycki charged

- Montreal activist Alexandre Paul detained by Russians

- WATCH: Greenpeace defends Arctic activists

Alexandre Paul, a Montreal native, was one of the people arrested on Sept. 19 when the Russian coast guard stormed Greenpeace’s Arctic Sunrise ship.

He, along with the entire crew, are facing possible 15-year jail sentences if convicted of the piracy charges that were laid this week.

Another Canadian, Paul Ruzycki of Port Colborne, Ont., was also charged.

They’re currently in jail in Murmansk, Russia, where they await their fates.

The arrests came the day after two members of the crew allegedly tried to scale the Arctic’s first offshore oil platform, in the Prirazlomnoye oil field in the Pechora Sea.

The rig is owned by Gazprom, a Russian state-controlled energy company.

The group of Greenpeace activists were aboard theArctic Sunrise ship protesting offshore drilling in the Arctic.

Paul’s father Raymond said his son had been detained once before in his 15 years of activism with Greenpeace, but only for a couple of days.

Raymond said he’s worried about the seriousness of the charges.

“I’m panicking a little bit,” he said.

He and Paul’s mother, Nicole, sit at home, scouring the Internet for updates on their son.

They haven’t been able to speak with him since he was arrested, though they’ve spoken with Greenpeace officials to get what little information they have.

The people on the ship come from 18 different countries. Greenpeace maintains that the arrests took place in international waters, and that Russia had no legal jurisdiction over the area.

Vigils demanding their release are planned across the globe this week.

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