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Protests Around the World to Free Four Activists

Greenpeace Protests Around the World to Free Four Activists – New Zealanders take ‘cyberaction’

Auckland, 16 May, 2000
Greenpeace protests today spread around the globe, from Asia to Europe, and from the Middle East to the Americas, demanding the immediate release of the four activists detained in Japan for the seventh day without any formal charges being brought against them. Amnesty International joined Greenpeace in its protest against the Japanese detention procedures.

An International Day of Action was declared by Greenpeace, and supporters in over 15 countries have gathered at Japanese embassies to call upon the Japanese government to allow freedom of expression as it is required under international law. In New Zealand over 4500 Greenpeace supporters were sent a ‘cyberaction’ opportunity today, to send a letter to the Japanese Ambassador in New Zealand and the Prime Minister of Japan, calling for the activists to be freed.

At the Greenpeace protest in the Netherlands, Executive Director of Greenpeace International, Thilo Bode said: ”This is a blatant attempt to silence legitimate peaceful protest against toxic emissions damaging the environment. I call on the Japanese authorities to release our four activists who were simply exercising their international right to freedom of speech in alerting the world to the dangers of incineration and dioxin emissions.”

On Friday, the judge ordered the four Greenpeace activists to be moved to the substitute prison system “Daiyo Kangoku”. In its most recent report on Japan, the United Nations Human Rights Committee condemned this system as restricting the fundamental rights of prisoners.

"The heavy-handed treatment of these peaceful protesters is an obvious attempt to silence and intimidate environmental activism. The activists are being held in continuous detention without charge or trial, a practice which is unacceptable by international human rights standards," Amnesty International said.

The four activists, Al Baker (United Kingdom), Marleen van Poeck (Belgium), Clement Lam (Hong Kong/Canada) and Paul Schot (the Netherlands) were arrested in Tokyo last Tuesday after a non violent action highlighting the problems of dioxin emissions into the environment.


The action aimed to highlight both local and global environmental and health implications of burning waste – particularly in areas where the incinerators are located. Japan has the highest levels of dioxin emissions in the world today, as a consequence of having more waste incinerators than any other country in the world. Dioxins are toxic substances created during the incineration process and are linked to liver cancer and other deadly diseases.

ENDS

For more information:

Sanae Shida, Executive Director, Greenpeace Japan, Tel: +8190 2252 95 25; Ayako Sekine, Greenpeace Japan Toxics Campaigner, Tel: +81-90-2254-0114;

Susan Yoshimura, Greenpeace Japan Media, Tel 81-90-8116-9816;

Juantxo Lopez de Uralde, Greenpeace International Toxic Campaign Coordinator, Tel: +34 609468954;

Mamie Mutchler, Greenpeace International Legal Advisor, Tel: +31- 20-523 6289;

Teresa Merilainen, Press Officer Greenpeace International, Tel: +31- 625 031001.

Amnesty International, Press Office in London, Tel: +44 20 7413 5566

Footage and pictures of international protests are available from Greenpeace.

Greenpeace International picture desk website

http://www.greenpeace.org/library/picturedesk.html

To send a message of protest, please visit { HYPERLINK http://www.greenpeace.org }www.greenpeace.org

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Tricia Allen Campaign and Communications Director Greenpeace New Zealand tricia.allen@nz.greenpeace.org phone ++ 64 9 630 6317 / +64 25 790817 fax ++ 64 9 630 7121 http://www.greenpeace.org
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