APEC an opportunity for Key to raise plight of Arctic 30
7 October 2013
APEC provides opportunity for Key to raise plight of Arctic 30
The APEC meeting in Bali provides a great chance for New Zealand Prime Minister John Key to raise the plight of the Arctic 30 directly with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Green Party MP Gareth Hughes said today.
30 Greenpeace activists have been charged with piracy in Russia after a protest against deep sea oil drilling in the Arctic Ocean. Among the 30 activists are two New Zealanders Jonathan Beauchamp and David Haussmann. The offence of piracy is punishable in Russia by up to 15 years in prison.
“The APEC meeting provides the perfect opportunity for countries such as New Zealand to lobby Russia to release the protestors detained following last month’s protest,” said Mr Hughes.
“Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has already expressed concern about the Arctic 30 to Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister, Igor Morgulov, at APEC.
“The Australian Government is also seeking legal advice as to whether the piracy charges are appropriate.
“New Zealand needs to follow Australia’s example and position itself on the world stage as a country that looks after the rights of not only its own citizens but all people who are willing to engage in peaceful protest.
“The charges of piracy by the Russian authorities are heavy handed and intimidatory.
“Even Vladimir Putin has scoffed at the idea that the Greenpeace activists are pirates.
“Now is the time for cool heads to prevail and for countries such as New Zealand to use diplomatic means to make certain the Greenpeace activists do not have to endure a long trial and possibly years in a Russian prison,” Mr Hughes said.