Brent Greenpeace activist held in Russia is denied bail
PUBLISHED: 16:25 16 October 2013 | UPDATED: 09:51 18 October 2013
© Dmitri Sharomov / Greenpeace
A Greenpeace activist held in Russia on piracy charges has been denied bail.
Frank Hewetson was part of a protest at Gazprom’s drilling platform Prirazlomnaya on September 18.
The next day, the 45-year-old from Chevening Road in Queens Park was onboard the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise when it was seized by Russian security services at gunpoint.
Mr Hewetson, who is a photographer and a videographer, was one of 28 activists arrested and held in a detention centre in the Murmansk area of the country.
Meanwhile, Cllr Muhammed Butt, Brent Council leader, has intervened in the fight for the immediate release of Mr Hewetson and his fellow activists.
In a letter to the Russian Embassy in London, he said: “It is clearly outrageous to lock up peaceful protesters in this manner.
“These charges have no merit in either Russian or international law. “President Putin himself has said he did not believe the team were pirates.”
Cllr Butt called for the activists to have access to full legal representation, consular services, translators and human rights inspectors.
The letter adds: “Please pass our request to the Russian government and assist us in getting Frank Hewetson and his colleagues released from custody, and an end to this unwarranted aggression and repression of peaceful protest against Arctic oil drilling.”
The letter has also been signed by Cllr James Denselow who represents Queens Park; Neil Nerva and Ellie Southwood, Labour candidates for Queen’s Park and Tulip Siddiq, Labour parliamentary candidate for Hampstead and Kilburn.
Cllr Denselow said: “To accuse these peaceful protestors of piracy is simple absurd.
“I hope that the Russian ambassador can help end this detention and secure the return of Mr Hewetson to his friends and family as soon as possible”.
A charge of piracy carries a maximum jail term of 15 years in Russia.
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