Russia drops charges against Greenpeace activist from Queen’s Park
PUBLISHED: 15:13 02 October 2014 | UPDATED: 15:30 02 October 2014
© Dmitri Sharomov / Greenpeace
A Greenpeace activist from Queen’s Park who was locked up in Russia for two months for protesting against oil drilling is to have no further action take against him.
Frank Hewetson, 48, of Chevening Road, and 30 other people including two freelance journalists, were jailed for their actions on an oil platform in The Arctic in September last year.
The group dubbed ‘Arctic 30’ were given bail just days before Christmas after new amnesty laws were passed, but they faced having to return to Russia to stand trial for piracy, which were later changed to a lesser count of hooliganism.
Yesterday, Mr Hewetson’s lawyers were told that Russian investigators had dropped the charge.
The delighted father-of-two told the Times: “It is really good news, not just for us but for our Russian colleagues who had to live under suspicion of a crime which is not easy.
“Being a prisoner in Russia was a testing and brutal experience but I am happy to back home with my loved ones. I have had time to recuperate and get back to life as normal.”
Since returning to the UK, Mr Hewetson, who has lived in Brent since 1996, has continued to take part in expeditions resulting in his arrest last week for his role in stopping a coal train from making its way into a power station in Lincoln.
He said: “Campaigning will never stop because we still have a lot of work to do. We have big plans for the coming year.
“The arctic campaign is still very much alive.”
He continued: “I am very grateful to my family and friends in Queen’s Park who have all supported me since I arrived back.”
Kumi Naidoo, Greenpeace international executive director, said: “Today’s news brings great relief to the Arctic 30 and their families who have faced a year of uncertainty after an entirely peaceful protest.
“However, we cannot understand how it took the investigative committee a year to establish what was clear from the start: that these people are passionate activists, not pirates.”
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