Russia frees Greenpeace activist from Brent held on piracy charges
PUBLISHED: 15:57 30 December 2013 | UPDATED: 15:57 30 December 2013
© Dmitri Sharomov / Greenpeace
A Greenpeace activist from Brent who was detained in Russia for almost three months under piracy charges has been freed.
Frank Hewetson, of Chevening Road, Queen’s Park, was one of the ‘Artic 30’ crew who were apprehended at gunpoint by Russian security forces following an anti-drilling demonstration against an offshore oil rig.
New amnesty laws unanimously backed the State Duma, allowed investigators to drop charges brought against the 30 crew member of the Arctic Sunrise Greenpeace ship in mid December.
The bill also resulted in the release of two jailed members of Pussy Riot who were caged for an anti-Putin protest.
The campaign to free the Arctic 30 has seen 860 protests in 46 countries and in more than 150 cities worldwide, while more than 2.6 million people wrote to Russian embassies according to Greenpeace.
Mr Hewetson is said to be travelling to an unspecified country.
Five other UK Greenpeace activists were welcomed home by relieved family and friend.
On his release, Peter Willcox who captained the Greenpeace ship, said: “I might soon be going home to my family, but I should never have been charged and jailed in the first place.
“Now it’s nearly over and we may soon be truly free, but there’s no amnesty for the Arctic.
“We may soon be home, but the Arctic remains a fragile global treasure under assault by oil companies and the rising temperatures they’re driving.
“We went there to protest against this madness.
“We were never the criminals here.”