Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Greenpeace Director Kumi Naidoo Offers Himself in Exchange for Release of Arctic 30

Greenpeace Director Kumi Naidoo Offers Himself in Exchange for Release of Arctic 30

Greenpeace International executive director Kumi Naidoo has written to President Vladimir Putin offering to travel to Moscow as early as possible to meet with the Russian President, in an effort to end the continued incarceration of 28 peaceful activists and two freelance journalists

In the letter, delivered today to the Russian embassy in The Hague, Netherlands, Naidoo offers to move his life to Russia and act as a guarantor for the good conduct of the activists if they are released on bail.

Greenpeace International Director Kumi Naidoo.

President Putin suggested he was open to dialogue with Greenpeace when he spoke at the recent International Arctic Forum conference in the Russian city of Salekhard. At the meeting President Putin said: “It would have been much better if representatives of this organization were present in this room and would express their opinion on the issues we are discussing, expressed their complaints or demands, rendered their concerns, nobody would ignore that."

The letter reads as follows:

Dear President Putin

Following the refusal yesterday of bail for our activists and a freelance photographer, and in response to your offer in Salekhard to engage in discussion over the fate of the Arctic, I request an urgent meeting with you.

I would of course be willing to meet you anywhere in the world, in a place of your choosing, but I ask that if possible our meeting is held at your earliest convenience in Russia.

Unlike the world leaders with whom you are more used to convening, I would not carry with me the power and influence of a government. Instead I would come equipped only as the representative of millions of people around the world, many of them Russian, whose fervent wish is to see an early end to the continued imprisonment of the thirty brave and peaceful men and women held in Murmansk.

Their fate is a matter of global concern. Therefore, I would come to you with an offer. I am willing to move my life to Russia for the duration of this affair. I would offer myself as a guarantor for the good conduct of the Greenpeace activists, were they to be released on bail. They, we, Greenpeace, do not believe ourselves to be above the law. We are willing to face the consequences of what we did, as long as those consequences are within a nation’s criminal code as any reasonable person understands that code to be.

It is clear from your own statements that you do not regard the activists as pirates, although that is the charge levelled against them. You, in common with millions around the world, know that in being accused of piracy they are charged with a crime that did not happen, that our activists are accused of an imaginary offence. Indeed, you have previously said that you have admiration for groups like Greenpeace, and that our protests inspire sympathy in you. Were our friends to be released on bail, I offer myself as security against the promise that the twenty-eight  Greenpeace International activists will answer for their peaceful protest according to the criminal code of Russia.

The law, as we both know, does not apply the offence of piracy to the actions of peaceful protesters. I therefore ask you to use any avenues of action open to you as President of the Russian Federation to request that the excessive charges of piracy against the detainees are dropped, and that any charges brought are consistent with international and Russian law. I also respectfully ask that the two independent freelancers, who are not Greenpeace members, be immediately freed. 

One day after the arrest of the activists, the United Nations issued its latest warning on the threat posed to all of us, to your nation, to mine, to the world, by climate change. The findings of the report, authored by our greatest scientific minds, imply that we cannot afford to prospect for and burn new sources of fossil fuels. That is why the protesters felt compelled to make the stand they did, a stand that was both peaceful and respectful of your nation.

My own personal history as a young activist in the anti-apartheid movement has taught me that dialogue is paramount, that in the interests of finding a common understanding we must be willing to talk. I believe that my offer to come to Moscow, to meet you and to stay there, affords us such an opportunity. This continued affair benefits nobody, including the great nation of Russia, and certainly not the families and friends of the people in prison.

I appreciate the risk that my coming to Russia entails. Last year I was part of a peaceful protest that was identical in almost every respect to the one carried out by my colleagues. Our peaceful protest last year was witnessed by the Russian coast guard, who refused to intervene when requested to by Gazprom because they understood that our actions posed no threat to the safety of people or property. But one year later the activists who did exactly the same thing now face a charge of piracy and the prospect of years in jail. In coming to Russia, I do not expect to share their fate, but it is a risk I am willing to take in order to find with you that common understanding.

Sincerely

Kumi Naidoo

Executive Director

Greenpeace International

Visit EcoWatch’s OFFSHORE OIL DRILLING page for more related news on this topic.

——–

Recycling and general waste plastic wheelie bins awaiting collection for disposal in Newport, Rhode Island. Tim Graham / Getty Images

Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. According to The National Museum of American History, this popular slogan, with its iconic three arrows forming a triangle, embodied a national call to action to save the environment in the 1970s. In that same decade, the first Earth Day happened, the EPA was formed and Congress passed the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, encouraging recycling and conservation of resources, Enviro Inc. reported.

Read More Show Less
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
The coal-fired Huaneng Power Plant in Huai 'an City, Jiangsu Province, China on Sept. 13, 2020. Costfoto / Barcroft Media via Getty Images

One of the silver linings of the coronavirus pandemic was the record drop in greenhouse gas emissions following national lockdowns. But that drop is set to all but reverse as economies begin to recover, the International Energy Agency (IEA) warned Tuesday.

Read More Show Less
Trending
A grizzly bear killed an outdoor guide in a rare attack near Yellowstone Park. William Campbell / Corbis / Getty Images

A backcountry guide has died after being mauled by a grizzly bear near Yellowstone National Park.

Read More Show Less
Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) re-introduces the Green New Deal in Washington, D.C. on April 20, 2021. Mandel Ngan / AFP / Getty Images

By Brett Wilkins

In the latest of a flurry of proposed Green New Deal legislation, Reps. Cori Bush and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Monday introduced the Green New Deal for Cities Act of 2021, a $1 trillion plan to "tackle the environmental injustices that are making us and our children sick, costing us our homes, and destroying our planet."

Read More Show Less
Offshore oil and gas drillers have left more than 18,000 miles of pipelines at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico. Drew Angerer / Getty Images

Offshore oil and gas drillers have discarded and abandoned more than 18,000 miles of pipelines on the floor of the Gulf of Mexico since the 1960s, a report from the Government Accountability Office says.

Read More Show Less