Denmark supports Dutch legal action against Russia

A Dane is among the 30 Greenpeace activists who are being held on charges of piracy by Russia after attempting to board an oil rig in the Arctic Ocean

Foreign Minister Villy Søvndal (Socialistisk Folkeparti) supports the legal proceedings against Russia that have been initiated by the Netherlands to free Greenpeace activists and their ship.

Thirty activists were detained by Russian special forces aboard the Dutch-registered Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise after two activists attempted to board an oil rig in the Arctic Ocean.

All 30 are being held in the Russian city of Murmansk and have been charged with piracy, including the Danish activist Ann Mie Roer Jensen. Two of the activists are Dutch.

READ MORE: Danish Greenpeace activist charged with piracy

The Dutch government on Friday announced that it will challenge their detention at a tribunal using international law, a move which Villy Søvndal supports.

“We in Denmark support using international mechanisms to resolve conflicts and it is vital that all the parties involved follow these international rules,” Søvndal told Ritzau.

Last week, Søvndal said that Denmark would not exert political pressure on Russia to release the activists.

READ MORE: No diplomatic pressure to release Greenpeace activist in Russia

But according to Søvndal, the Danish ambassador to Russia has expressed Denmark’s concern to the Russian authorities.

The activists were drawn from 19 different countries, all of which are invited to attend a meeting hosted by the Dutch government tomorrow about the legal proceedings. 

The activists are all being held on remand for 60 days but according to Greenpeace, the activists plan to appeal against the charges this week.