NEWS

Alexandre Paul, Canadian Greenpeace protester, granted bail in Russia

11/21/2013 05:19 EST | Updated 01/25/2014 04:01 EST
The second of two Canadian Greenpeace activists being held in jail in Russia for protesting against Arctic offshore drilling has been granted bail by Russian courts.

Alexandre Paul, 36, was one of 30 protesters arrested at a drilling rig in September.

The details of his release were not immediately known.

Earlier this week, six other jailed Greenpeace activists — including Canadian Paul Ruzycki — were cleared for release. Lawyers said those protesters would be allowed to return to their homes pending trial. Greenpeace hoped to secure their release on Friday.

Three Russian activists were also released on 2 million rubles ($63,800 Cdn) bail on Monday, though the court ruled an Australian protester can be held until Feb. 24.

The 30 activists are charged with hooliganism over the protest, when some activists tried to scale an oil platform in the Pechora Sea that is Russia’s first offshore rig in the Arctic. Russia considers the rig to be a crucial part of its drive to exploit the region's energy resources.

'A high farce'

The investigation is continuing and no trial date has been set.

Greenpeace called the case against the so-called Arctic 30 "a high farce," saying the protest over the platform operated by state-controlled Russian energy giant Gazprom was peaceful and the charges are unfounded.

The environmental group says drilling for oil in the Arctic threatens the region's pristine and unique environment.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said development and shipping in the region are important to Russia's economy and security.

The 30 activists had initially been charged with piracy, which is punishable by up to 15 years in prison. Putin has said they were clearly not pirates but that they had violated the law.

MORE:cbcNews